RNLI urges public not to sea swim

The RNLI are advising the public that they should not take part in any water-based activities on or in the sea to reduce the risk to the volunteer crews and other emergency services being exposed to COVID-19.

Mid-late April is normally a time to dust off the wetsuit, leave the pool and start open water training. The long spell of warm sunshine is also a great opportunity to plunge into water, however, even if you are lucky enough to live on the coast it is recommended that the public don’t take their daily allowed exercise on or in the sea. The RNLI are urging everyone to follow the Government instructions: stay home, protect the NHS and save lives.

Gareth Morrison, Head of Water Safety at the RNLI said: “We know people who live at the coast still want to exercise by the sea, but when you do this, please think of the potential impact of your actions on RNLI lifeboat volunteers and other emergency services,

“While you could be fully competent and never needed to be rescued, by going out on the water you could encourage others who are less proficient to take part in similar activities.”

There will be no RNLI lifeguard patrols at any beaches, they have been postponed until further notice. Since the lockdown was introduced lifeboats have been called out to rescue people. If you chose to walk or run at the coast the advice is:

  • Take care near cliffs – know your route and your limitations
  • Check the weather forecast and tide times
  • 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 any coastal emergency dial 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard

“Our lifeboat crews are still at the ready 24/7 – thanks to their own courage in a time of crisis, and the generosity of our supporters,” says Gareth.

“Sadly, though, we can’t arrange fundraising events, open our shops, or welcome people to lifeboat stations at the moment, which means our ability to fundraise has been severely impacted. This could be the biggest storm the RNLI has ever faced.”

To support from home, visit:

Image (c) RNLI Lifeguard Service

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Ella is renowned outdoor swimmer and journalist. As well as leading the editorial, digital and experiential outputs for Outdoor Swimmer she is also Director of Dip Advisor, a swim guiding business helping people enjoy wild water. Ella also teaches swimming to children and adults, is an Open Water Coach and RLSS Open Water Lifeguard.