'Don't bring your lilo to the beach this summer,' urges coastguard

Lilos on the beach are a bad idea, says a senior Norfolk coastguard

Lilos on the beach are a bad idea, says a senior Norfolk coastguard - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

A senior coastguard has called for lilos to be kept away from Norfolk's beaches this summer.

On Thursday afternoon three young girls had to be rescued by a lifeboat crew after their lilos began drifting out to sea off the coast at Hunstanton. 

The lifeboat recovered two of the girls and a paddleboarder, who had gone to assist the girls, rescued the third girl successfully.

Speaking following the incident, Jen Hill, senior coastal operations officer for Norfolk, said taking inflatables into the water was not recommended.

She said: "Lilos are a big issue. They are bright, colourful and fun, but they are really only meant for a swimming pool, or any water area that is surrounded by a wall. The sea doesn't have walls and it's so easy and so quick for a bit of fun to turn into something worse.

"As soon as they are out of arm's reach that's when you're asking for trouble.

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"There was a recent incident in Scotland of two boys swept out in a toy boat - it wasn't even an inflatable - fortunately they were OK. It just goes to show that lilos really are a bad idea at the seaside."

Despite a mixed weather forecast for this weekend, she said people still needed to be on their guard and she suggested checking information such as tides before arriving at the beach.

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She said: "People obviously come to the beach to relax but they can become complacent, especially this year when we are anticipating one of our busiest summers ever. I think part of the issue is that people are used to traveling to places like the Mediterranean which is non-tidal and then they come to Norfolk and have no idea of what a tide actually is.

"Often they are non-locals and they don't understand the phenomenon of a tide. We've even had people call the coastguard because the tide has gone out and they don't get why.

"The information regarding tides is readily available online and often displayed at coastguard huts along the coast."

The Eastern Daily Press has launched the Play It Safe campaign urging the public to be water aware.

The Play It Safe campaign is urging the public to be water aware. - Credit: Archant

Play It Safe
The Eastern Daily Press and its sister papers, the North Norfolk News and Great Yarmouth Mercury, have launched the Play It Safe, Be Water Aware campaign to ensure visitors to Norfolk's waters stay safe.

David Powles, EDP editor, said: "Norfolk and Suffolk are blessed with some wonderful places to enjoy water, with miles and miles of stunning coastline and the beautiful Broads. 

"However, in recent years there have been several signs that perhaps people are not fully aware of the dangers which can lay beneath and are not fully preparing themselves before going into the water. 

"In 2020 we sadly saw several tragedies both on the coast and inland and already this summer there has been one tragic death of a young man. 

"We want to spread more awareness to those looking to enjoy our waters and hope this campaign will do just that, plus encouraging shopkeepers and businesses in popular areas to display our specially designed posters." 

Our Play it Safe water safety posters can be purchased at www.norfolkstore.co.uk

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