Norfolk coastguards in safety plea as number of call-outs increase across the region

HM Coastguard rescue officers from Lowestoft and Southwold on Lowestoft's south beach. Pictures: HM

HM Coastguard rescue officers from Lowestoft and Southwold on Lowestoft's south beach. Pictures: HM COASTGUARD - Credit: Archant

Officers are urging beach-loving locals and holidaymakers who descend on the region's coastline to stay safe this summer.

HM Lowestoft and Southwold Coastguard Rescue Teams repond to a call-out. Picture: Natasha Mills

HM Lowestoft and Southwold Coastguard Rescue Teams repond to a call-out. Picture: Natasha Mills - Credit: Archant

The warning from coastguards comes at the height of the peak summer holiday season, as the latest figures show a marked year-on-year increase across the region.

Lowestoft and Southwold coastguard callouts 2016 so far

Lowestoft and Southwold coastguard callouts 2016 so far - Credit: Archant

The Lowestoft and Southwold coastguard rescue teams have already exceeded the number of call-outs they received in the whole of 2015, and there have been increases across Norfolk.

Tony Garbutt, senior coastguard operations officer for the north Norfolk sector, said they had been called out 220 times this year.

'We are 15pc up on trend and it is only half-way into the season,' he said.


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With the Happisburgh and Mundesley coastguard rescue teams having responded to 32 and 34 call-outs respectively, the call-outs range from people searches and water rescues to assisting other emergency services.

After a recent spate of call-outs, Andy Sutherland, station officer for Lowestoft and Southwold coastguard rescue teams, offered some key advice. He said: 'I would advise people to have fun and stay safe and if possible go to a lifeguarded beach for extra safety for the children and swim between the flags.'

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So far this year the two teams have had 64 call-outs – 11 more than the overall total last year. Covering the area from Dunwich to Gorleston, the teams have also attended nine call-outs on inland areas including the Norfolk and Suffolk Broads.

On Saturday, six coastguard rescue officers assisted the RNLI Lowestoft Lifeguards and the ambulance service on Lowestoft's south beach after a woman was taken ill in the sea while she was believed to be swimming with her family. With the lifeguards assisting the woman out of the water to carry out first aid treatment she was taken to James Paget University Hospital in Gorleston.

With the Great Yarmouth and Gorleston coastguard rescue teams having been called out 58 times so far this year, Mr Sutherland said: 'For the Great Yarmouth sector – covering Gorleston, Lowestoft and Southwold – there have been 122 call-outs already. The north Norfolk sector has had 220 calls, and they have had six deaths already this year.

'The Winterton coastguard rescue team averages 80 call-outs a year, and they are currently on 50 calls – all areas are up (year on year).'

The coastguard rescue teams consist of trained volunteers who provide assistance to those in distress along the coast. A coastguard spokesman said: 'We hope everyone stays safe and enjoys the summer season. If you or someone you know gets into difficulties remember we are there for you 24 hours a day and 365 days a year.'

If you get into difficulty or witness anyone in trouble, call 999 and ask for the coastguard.

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