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RNLI warning ahead of weekend reopening after spike in Norfolk call-outs

PUBLISHED: 22:03 02 July 2020 | UPDATED: 22:03 02 July 2020

Ted Morgan, one of the RNLI lifeguards back on duty at Sea Palling beach. Picture: Denise Bradley

Ted Morgan, one of the RNLI lifeguards back on duty at Sea Palling beach. Picture: Denise Bradley

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The RNLI has issued a safety warning to coastal visitors following a spike in callouts since lockdown measures were eased.

RNLI Lifeboat responding to call-out. Picture: RNLI LowestoftRNLI Lifeboat responding to call-out. Picture: RNLI Lowestoft

During May and June, the charity was called to seven separate incidents in Norfolk, involving 62 people cut off by the rising tide.

The warning comes as lifeguards are to return to four more beaches in Norfolk this weekend.

Ted Morgan, one of the RNLI lifeguards back on duty at Sea Palling beach. Picture: Denise BradleyTed Morgan, one of the RNLI lifeguards back on duty at Sea Palling beach. Picture: Denise Bradley

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The stepping up its lifesaving service coincides with the further easing of government restrictions on the tourism and hospitality industries.

This weekend, professional lifeguard patrols will return to Wells-next-the-Sea, Sheringham West, Mundesley and Hemsby.

Warning poster about people being cut off by the tide after spike in call-outs in Norfolk. Picture: RNLI/HM CoastguardWarning poster about people being cut off by the tide after spike in call-outs in Norfolk. Picture: RNLI/HM Coastguard

These services add to those at Cromer East, Sea Palling and Gorleston, which returned to life-saving duties in June.

The RNLI’s new safety warning to beachgoers is particularly targeted at the number of people requiring rescue after being cut off by the tide.

Councillor Carl Smith, leader of Great Yarmouth Borough Council. Picture: Ella WilkinsonCouncillor Carl Smith, leader of Great Yarmouth Borough Council. Picture: Ella Wilkinson

Working with partners including HM Coastguard, the charity has produced artwork explaining the specific dangers of tidal cut-off.

Nick Ayers, RNLI water safety lead for the region, said: “Norfolk’s beaches are some of the most beautiful and unique landscapes in the country. But they can bring unique dangers, with sand bars and fast-flowing channels appearing and disappearing on the tide.

“With schools not yet fully open and restrictions on foreign travel, we know that this could be the busiest summer ever on our beaches – and in turn for both our lifeguards and lifeboat crews.

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“So it’s vital visitors to our coast help ease the pressure on emergency services and keep themselves safe by following our advice.”

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Carl Smith, leader of Great Yarmouth Borough Council, said: “The expansion of lifeguard provision is more than welcomed as more of our seafront business are set to reopen this weekend, which means we expect a rise in visitors to our beaches.

“Whilst the sea can be a fun place to play and cool off in the warmer weather, it is also important to remember the danger the water holds. Lifeguards cannot be everywhere this summer, and visitors must be sensible around the sea.”

Sarah Bütikofer, leader of North Norfolk District Council, added: “I would urge all beach users to please follow the RNLI safety advice when visiting the coast, if you can’t see a lifeguard look out for signage offering advice about the beach you are visiting.”

Keep you and your family safe by following beach safety advice:

* Have a plan - check the weather forecast, tide times and read local hazard signage

* Keep a close eye on your family – on the beach and in the water

* Don’t allow your family to swim alone

* Don’t use inflatables

* If you fall into the water unexpectedly, fight your instinct to thrash around, lean back, extend your arms and legs, and Float

* In an emergency dial 999, and ask for the Coastguard


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