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  • Writer's pictureLove Ballymena

RNLI reminds public to stay safe at coast during heatwave

RNLI jet ski launching into sea from beach

The RNLI is urging people visiting the coast this week to stay safe amid the continued good spell of warm weather forecast.


With the school holidays now over, the RNLI is also winding down some of its beach lifeguard service which runs throughout the peak summer season.

 

Sunday marked the conclusion of the summer daily patrols for RNLI lifeguards along the Causeway Coast and in county Down.



However, during the month of September, RNLI lifeguards will continue their patrols at weekends on some beaches. These include Portstewart Strand from 10am to 6pm, and Benone, West Strand, East Strand, and White Rocks from 11am to 7pm on Saturdays and Sundays.


Linda-Gene Byrne, RNLI Water Safety Lead said:


"With the warm weather forecast this week, we want to remind everyone to stay safe when visiting the coast. As the peak season finishes for RNLI lifeguards and with a reduction of lifeguarded beaches, we’re asking people to continue to take care and be aware of the dangers.



"If you are planning on swimming at a lifeguarded beach, we highly recommend you swim between the red and yellow flags as this is the safest area and is most closely monitored by lifeguards.


"If you get into trouble in the water, Float to Live. Tilt your head back with ears submerged and try to relax and control your breathing. Use your hands to help you stay afloat and then call for help or swim to safety if you can."


RNLI jet ski on water off beach

Despite a summer marked by inconsistent weather, lifeguards worked daily to ensure the safety of beachgoers. The weather on the final day of peak season was surprisingly warm, with temperatures ranging from 22-25 degrees, attracting many to the beach. However, the weather masked the challenging ocean conditions, as a massive swell created 6ft waves.

 

Throughout the day, RNLI lifeguards performed many preventative measures. Their efforts included warning beachgoers about the hazardous conditions, providing safety advice as well as carrying out rescues.


 

During the day, lifeguards on Portrush East Strand dealt with nine incidents including a rescue of four people caught in a rip current.

 

Karl O’Neill, RNLI Lead Lifeguard Supervisor, said:


"After having two months of poor weather, it was incredible to see the professionalism and dedication of all the lifeguards throughout the season, especially in those final busy hours.

 

"Now that peak season has concluded, we would encourage everyone planning a trip to the coast or beach, to enjoy themselves but to be mindful of their own personal safety particularly when lifeguards are not on patrol. Check weather and tide times before venturing out and always check local signage for safety and hazards. 

 


"If you do find yourself in a rip current, do not swim against or it or you will get exhausted. If you can, stand up and wade, or swim parallel to the shore until you are free of the rip, then head to shore. If you can, raise your hand and call for help – and remember, to Float to Live if you can’t make it back or become too tired. To do this, tilt your head back with ears submerged and try to relax and control your breathing. Use your hands to help you stay afloat and call for help or swim to safety if you can."

 

To find your nearest RNLI lifeguarded beach and check its season dates, please visit: https://rnli.org/find-my-nearest/lifeguarded-beaches  

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