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Beach Safety Advice

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7:03am 3rd May 2014

As the RNLI steps up cover on Cornwall's beaches we are warned they may not be as safe as we think.

Massive waves in the storms created huge sand cliffs and new rip currents.

Lifeguards fear people could still be unaware of the dangers.

Manager Steve Instance says don't be too proud to ask for help: "Go and have a chat with the lifeguards and ask them what the conditions are like there. Many other beaches which don't have lifeguards will have Surf Lifesaving Clubs, go and speak to somebody there or even just a local surfer. They'll all know what the conditions are like on their local beach."

He added "Where you expect safe swimming conditions it could be considerably different. We've had a lot of new channels carved in the sand which have caused rip currents and could make those currents stronger. But our real concern and our main concern is the sand cliffs.

"Keep well away from the sand cliffs. They're not a good place to play, not a good place to go either on top or beneath. They are unstable and they could collapse and if they collapse you have no chance of survival."

Cornwall Council cabinet member for the environment Edwina Hannaford said:  "The RNLI do a fantastic and vital job.  Clearly signposted, lifeguard patrolled beaches are the safest places to swim and provide peace of mind for those taking to the water. We are fortunate to be surrounded by some of the most beautiful beaches in the country, but the sea can hide many dangers. While it might be tempting to swim at any of Cornwall’s beaches, we would always encourage people to go to those that have lifeguards."

Steve Instance added: "Last year in Cornwall RNLI lifeguards dealt with 8,067 incidents and assisted 8,988 people and saved 39 lives. With the largest number of RNLI lifeguarded beaches in one county it’s not surprising that Cornwall was the busiest area in the south west.

"With the RNLI operating a lifeguarding service on 57 of Cornwall’s beaches during the peak summer season, visitors can rest assured they are enjoying the best the county can offer safe in the knowledge that there is a lifeguard team watching over them."

These top tips from the RNLI should be followed by anyone planning a trip to the beach;

Swim at a lifeguarded beach, between the red and yellow flags

Never use inflatables in strong winds or rough seas

Check tide times before you go

If you get into trouble, stick your hand in the air and shout for help

If you see someone else in trouble, tell a lifeguard. If you can’t see a lifeguard, call 999 or 112 and ask for the Coastguard

In addition, the RNLI are warning beach users to stay away from the sheer sand cliffs which are at risk or collapsing, trapping anyone on or below them.

You can get general beach safety advice here 

For a list of beaches covered by the RNLI click here:

7:03am 3rd May 2014

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