Wells lifeboat issues warning after four rescues in three days
- Credit: Archant
With people flocking to the coast to soak up the sun during this year's unusually warm summer, the Wells Lifeboat crew have warned that beaches can be dangerous even for those who don't intend to go in the water.
Last week the crew had a dramatic week when they conducted four rescues in just three days.
In one of those incidents, which happened on Saturday July 8, two adults and a child became stranded and cut off by the tide on the west side of the Harbour Channel.
The child was able to reach safety independently but the parents had to be rescued by the lifeboat. The crew was able to reach them just moments before the incoming tide covered the spit of sand the family had been standing on.
John Mitchell, a spokesperson for Wells Lifeboat, said: 'The main dangers of heading to beach are not what people would usually expect. More people get into trouble from walking than swimming or sailing.
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'Always check the tide times. It comes in very quickly and it can catch you off guard. If you leave it too late make sure you look at all your surroundings, high tides can come in behind you and cut you off.
'If you are on high ground then stay where you are and dial 999 but the important thing is not to go there in first place. Tide times are posted on the beach and are easily available.
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'High water may be at a certain time but many people don't realise that the tide starts to come in up to six hours before. There is 12 hours between each tide, so if high water is at 1pm then go back six hours to see when tide turns.'
Currently around 190 people accidentally die on the British and Irish coasts each year and around half of those incidences involve people who hadn't intended to go into the water.
The RNLI has launched a campaign to reduce number of deaths by drowning by 50% in time for their 150th anniversary in 2024 and their biggest piece of advice to people who find themselves in the water is to float and don't panic.
The campaign website offers further advice to beach visitors and the charity is urging people to share the website among their friends to build greater awareness.
The campaign can also be followed and discussed on social media with the hashtag #RespectTheWater.