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Warning to parents: watch your children

PUBLISHED: 11:20 26 May 2009 | UPDATED: 13:58 03 July 2010

COASTGUARDS and lifeboat managers have urged parents to enjoy the coastline this half term - but to help avoid tragedy by paying close attention to their children while they are on the beach and in or near the water.

COASTGUARDS and lifeboat managers have urged parents to enjoy the coastline this half term - but to help avoid tragedy by paying close attention to their children while they are on the beach and in or near the water.

While much of the Norfolk coast was colder than inland areas because of the onshore winds over the long weekend, the beaches were still busy with locals and visitors.

Many of the county's busiest beaches have RNLI lifeguard teams watching over the most popular parts, offering advice and displaying information about tides and safety, having started their season on May 16 at Sheringham, East Cromer, Mundesley, Sea Palling, Yarmouth and Gorleston.

The guards will start patrolling West Cromer and Hemsby from July 11.

Despite the best efforts of those tasked with the safety of water users, the Norfolk coast has claimed several lives in recent years. Last summer 33-year-old Roughton man Lee Griffin drowned after jumping from Cromer pier and falling victim to strong currents concentrated on the groyne nearest to the east side of the pier.

Meanwhile last year there were numerous other close calls, including to more than 20 people at Wells who found themselves trapped by high tides despite the warning signs and many incidents involving inflatables being blown out to sea, either with people on them or abandoned but needing to be checked by a lifeboat call out.

Prompted by a series of cases of missing children this weekend, mainly along the Lincolnshire coast, Yarmouth Coastguard watch manager Christina Martyn said: “As the holiday season begins, we would, once again, like to remind parents to keep a vigilant watch over their children at all times when visiting the seaside.

“In the recent sunny weather, and the relaxed atmosphere of the Bank Holiday weekend, it is all too easy for parents to unwind and let their children wander off and get lost.

“A moment of inattention is all that it takes, and your child could be at risk.”

Richard Leeds, lifeboat operations manager at Cromer, echoed the advice: “Come and enjoy the beach, but be especially aware of where your children are, who they are with and what they are doing.

“Swim within the red and yellow lifeguard flags and if in doubt ask for advice.”

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