Reminder of importance of sea safety as August named deadliest month

The RNLI have launched a safety campaign. Photo by Alan Hatton.

The RNLI have launched a safety campaign. Photo by Alan Hatton. - Credit: Alan Hatton

A trip to the seaside is an all important part of the Great British Summer.

For many, that tradition is not complete without a dip in the water.

However it is not without its risks and figures show that August is the deadliest month of the year in our region for fatalities in open water.

Last August the region's lifeboat crews from Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) responded to 126 emergencies, over a fifth of their total annual launches and the highest number since 2012.

Over the past five years, there have been 11 deaths at the East Anglian coast in August, more than in any other month.

The charity's community safety partner for the region, Ben Mitchell, said: 'With summer holidays upon us and hopefully some hot weather, our fantastic beaches are naturally a draw for many people.

'But sadly this also means more people tragically losing their lives or getting into serious danger at the coast.

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'We need to start a national conversation that encourages people to fight their instincts around water, so we are asking people to remember and share two skills.'

The first bit of advice from the charity is if you see someone else in trouble, don't go into the water yourself as you may also end up in serious danger. Instead, dial 999 and ask for the Coastguard.

The second is, if you fall into cold water, fight your instincts to swim hard or thrash about as this could lead to drowning.

Instead, relax and float on your back, keeping your airway clear, for around 60–90 seconds.

Mr Mitchell added: 'This will allow the effects of cold water shock to pass so you can regain control of your breathing and then swim to safety or call for help. Just remembering these two simple points could help save your life, or someone else's, this summer.'

In August 2015, two teenagers died while swimming at the Thorpe Marshes Reserve, near Norwich.

Bonheur Musungay, 14, and Stella Kambi, 17 got into trouble while in the water at the old gravel pit.

Last summer a man died after getting caught in a rip tide off the coast of Sea Palling.

Another person was airlifted to hospital and two others were rescued from the water.

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