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RNLI issues important safety advice as lifeguards not yet on Northern Ireland beaches

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The RNLI has issued an important safety warning with the good weather set to continue. The charity is reminding the public that there are currently no lifeguards on beaches in Northern Ireland at present and people should exercise caution when visiting the coast and be aware of the dangers.

Rollout of the normal seasonal lifeguard service was halted at the end of March due to the measures put in place by the Northern Ireland Executive to control the spread of Coronavirus. Despite the challenges of the coronavirus outbreak, the charity will be running a restricted lifeguard service on some Northern Ireland beaches, however, this service will not be starting until later in June.

“As we move to a gradual relaxing of restrictions as advised by the Northern Ireland Executive and we experience the good weather, we expect many people to be eager to visit the coast.” said Karl O’Neill, RNLI Lead Lifeguard Supervisor.

“We ask those who are visiting beaches to continue to be aware of the inherent dangers and to avoid taking risks. The RNLI’s water safety campaign is advising people to keep their family safe when they are at the coast, avoid using inflatables and if they see anyone in trouble, dial 999 and ask for the coastguard.

Anyone planning a visit to the coast should remember and follow RNLI safety advice:

§ Have a plan – check the weather forecast, tide times and read local hazard signage

§ Keep a close eye on your family – on the beach and in the water

§ Don’t allow your family to swim alone

§ Don’t use inflatables

§ If you fall into the water unexpectedly, FLOAT TO LIVE. Fight your instinct to thrash around, lean back, extend your arms and legs, and Float

§ In an emergency dial 999, and ask for the Coastguard

The RNLI’s safety information can be found at rnli.org/safety/beach-safety

RNLI volunteer lifeboat crew in Northern Ireland remain on call and are expecting to see an increase in callouts as the good continues and lockdown restrictions gradual ease. Please take extra care and follow water safety advice.

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