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Warning after 50pc increase in rescues on north Norfolk coast

PUBLISHED: 15:19 19 September 2020 | UPDATED: 15:19 19 September 2020

Warnings remain in place on North Norfolks coast, after the RNLI reported a 50pc increase in rescues this year. Picture: Ronald Lovick

Warnings remain in place on North Norfolks coast, after the RNLI reported a 50pc increase in rescues this year. Picture: Ronald Lovick

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Warnings remain in place on North Norfolk’s coast this weekend, after the RNLI reported a 50pc increase in rescues this year.

Boats at Brancaster Staithe at low tide.Boats at Brancaster Staithe at low tide.

As the pandemic saw more holiday makers head to the county this summer, lifeboat stations faced a busier than usual season.

Hunstanton lifeboat station reported 30 launches since March 1, with more than 60 people rescued from incidents on the coast, including Brancaster beach which saw an increase in visitors becoming stranded by the tides.

Nick Ayers, the RNLI’s water safety lead for the north and east regions, said: “As people are spending a lot more time in the UK due to Covid, we have had a lot more visitors to the coast.

“In particular around Hunstanton because people are drawn to the beautiful coast line of north Norfolk, including Brancaster and Wells-Next-the-Sea.

Nick Ayers, the RNLIs water safety lead for the North and East regions. Photo: James Carr.Nick Ayers, the RNLIs water safety lead for the North and East regions. Photo: James Carr.

“The beaches suffer from extensive tidal range. The tide goes out really far and creates interlocking sandbars.

“People walk out to sand bars at low tide but the water can quickly race in and cut them off from the main land.

“That means people start to panic and take drastic action to get back to shore.”

Incidents off Norfolk’s coast this summer include the death of a woman in her 30s after she got into difficulty in the water at Waxham, on Sunday, August 9.

MORE: Woman dies after emergency services called out to reports of seven in water on Norfolk coast

On June 24, lifeboat volunteers were called to three incidents off the Hunstanton coast, involving a person who had fallen from an inflatable and reports that a child in an inflatable had drifted out to sea off Brancaster Golf Club.

And 16 first responders came to the aid of visitors who had become stranded on Scoult Head Island, on May 20, including the Hunstanton Lifeboat hovercraft crew and Coastguard teams who travelled by land from Hunstanton and Wells.

As the warm weather continues into September, Mr Ayers, has reminded those who visit Norfolk’s beaches to stay safe.

“This weekend we are looking at strong tides,” he said. “It means they come in a lot of higher and go out a lot further.

“We have good weather expected as well, so we are asking people to take care whilst at the coast and take a mobile phone wherever you go. If you get into trouble dial 999 and ask for the coast guards.”

With vital fund raising stopped due to the pandemic, Hunstanton RNLI have set up a JustGiving page to help them continue saving lives.

Mr Ayres added: “Like any charity we have seen a big shortfall and we have been asking anyone to give generously to these lifesaving charities.

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“Hunstanton life boat station has been unable to continue with face-to-face fundraising, so they are just looking at different ways to generate funds.”


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