The RNLI are asking Scots to leave their inflatable toys in the pool or at home this summer. Picture RNLI Troon.
After even slight eases in Scotland’s lockdown saw spikes in shouts to inflatable dinghies and flamingos, the lifesaving charity are urging beach goers to be beach safe.
Whilst inflatables may look great on an Instagram feed, the lifesaving charity is reminding people that they belong in pools and not in the sea.
HM Coastguard regularly tasks RNLI lifeboats on both coasts to reports of people being blown out to sea or to collect wayward giant flamingos or unicorns.
Recent shouts, in June 2020, have seen RNLI volunteers from Largs, Girvan, Troon, North Berwick and Kinghorn respond to help people in trouble due to using inflatables in the sea.
Speaking about the risk of inflatables, Michael Avril the RNLI’s Water Safety Lead for Scotland says:
“We understand the appeal of inflatables, they are prolific on social media, however, they pose a serious risk to life if used at the coast.
“In Scotland we often experience strong offshore winds and fast tides which can see somebody dragged far out of their depth in a matter of seconds.
“At this point, people will often panic and abandon their inflatable which leaves them suddenly immersed in very cold water and at a serious risk of drowning.
“We’d ask the public to please leave the inflatables at home or in a pool this summer, they don’t belong on a beach or in the sea.
“If you do see someone in trouble on an inflatable at the beach call 999 and ask for the Coastguard.”
The RNLI also has the following advice for those considering a trip to the coast, you should stay in familiar surroundings, follow Scottish Government advice of remaining within five miles of your home, don’t put yourself, your family and emergency services at risk by taking risks or assuming it ‘won’t happen to you’.
If you do see someone at risk call 999 and ask for the Coastguard.
The message from the RNLI in Scotland is clear, an easing of lockdown does not mean an instantly safer coast and water temperatures remain dangerously cold.
The charity will be running a lifeguard service on five of the nation’s beaches this weekend: St Andrews East Sands, Elie, Aberdour Silver Sands, Burntisland and Coldingham Bay.