'Think twice' if planning to visit the coast this weekend
- Credit: RNLI/Nigel Millard
People are being urged to exercise extreme caution if they visit the coast this weekend.
The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) and HM Coastguard have reiterated their safety advice ahead of severe storms that are due to hit the east coast - with people being warned to stay safe especially along exposed cliffs, seafronts and piers.
The Met Office has issued a Yellow Warning for snow and ice this weekend, with easterly winds predicted to reach gale force eight on Sunday, February 7, potentially bringing large waves and posing a severe safety risk to those visiting the coast.
Nick Ayers, RNLI regional water safety lead, said: "We urge anyone going out to think twice about the dangers around our coastline.
"Sadly, around 150 people accidentally lose their lives around UK and Irish waters each year and over half of these people didn’t plan on ever entering the water.
"Slips, trips and falls can be a major factor in these kinds of incidents, especially with the risk of cold water shock for anybody finding themselves in the water unexpectedly."
Rob Priestley, HM Coastguard duty controller, said: "If you’re lucky enough to live near the coast and be in a position to take your exercise there in line with local COVID-19 restrictions, we’d urge everyone to take extra care this weekend.
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"Dress up warmly, take a fully charged mobile phone and stay well back from cliffs and strong waves which can be unpredictable and may well include rocks and debris.
"No matter how dramatic the picture, no selfie is worth risking your life for."
Mr Ayers added: "If you see someone else in danger in the water, call 999 and ask for the Coastguard.
"If you have something that floats that they can hold on to, throw it to them.
"Don’t go in the water yourself – too many people drown trying to save others."
The RNLI’s key water safety advice is to take care if walking near cliffs; know your route and keep dogs on a lead; check tide times daily; take a fully-charged phone; check your equipment is in good working order and in an emergency call 999 or 112 and ask for the Coastguard.