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WATCH: Cornwall RNLI warning despite warm weather

RNLI lifeguards patrol water's edge - credit Nathan Williams
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4:34pm 20th April 2018
(Updated 4:34pm 20th April 2018)

Tempted to dive into the Cornish sea during this bout of warmer weather?

Well, better think again.

The RNLI is urging us to think twice as the sun shines on the Duchy - because the water isn't as warm as we think it is.

Newquay lifeguard Lewis Timpson said: "We have actually got quite a lot of swell forecast for the next few days as well.

"If you are going down to the beach, just speak to the lifeguards and they will point you in the right direction of where you need to be.

"When you are in the water, just be aware that it is quite chilly."

Cold water shock is one of the biggest killers in our seas and the RNLI's campaign #RespectTheWater aims to encourage people to be wary of the dangers - even when they aren't expecting it.

They say that even when people are coastal walking and on the beach with their dogs, they should be aware of how cold the water actually is.

Lewis describes what can happen if you do accidentally fall in.

He said: "As the cold water engulfs your body and sinks in through your clothes, your heart rate is going to go quite sporadic and pretty high.

"That's going to knock your breathing off so you will start doing much shallower breathing, and this means you won't get effective breaths.

"What we recommend is for people to stay quite calm in this instance, lay on your back as if you are floating or relaxing in a swimming pool.

"Put your arms out to the side and put your chin up to the sky to keep your mouth and airway away from the water."

Watch below for more information on cold water shock and how to stay safe in the sea this summer.

Lifeguard cover in Cornwall:

    • Weekend lifeguard cover until 5th May when full time lifeguard cover resumes until October:
      Praa Sands, Hayle Towans, Gwithian, Porthtowan, Perranporth, Towan, Mawgan Porth, Watergate Bay, Harlyn, Constantine, Polzeath, Widemouth and Summerleaze in Cornwall and Woolacombe, and Bantham in Devon. 
    • Fistral, Sennen and Portmeor in Cornwall have full time lifeguard cover from Friday 30th March until October.

If you enter the water unexpectedly:

  • Take a minute. The initial effects of cold water pass in less than a minute so don’t try to swim straight away.
  • Relax and float on your back to catch your breath. Try to get hold of something that will help you float.
  • Keep calm then call for help or swim for safety if you’re able.

If you are planning on enjoying the water:

  • Check conditions - including water temperature - before heading to the coast. Visit magicseaweed.com for full surf reports in the UK and Ireland.
  • Wear a wetsuit of appropriate thickness for the amount of time you plan to spend in the water and the type of activity you're doing, if entering.
  • Wear a flotation device. It greatly increases your chances of making it through the initial shock.

For more water safety advice, click here

You can also find out more information from the Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service here

4:34pm 20th April 2018

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