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WATCH: Summer drowning warning for Cornwall

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Published by Sarah Yeoman at 1:34pm 7th August 2018.

A drowning warning is going out to youngsters descending on Cornwall's coast for sunshine, end of exams and Boardmasters.

The RNLI has revealed that 19 people have died around the south west coast in the past five years - in August alone.

That includes a dad and his two-year-old daughter swept off rocks in Newquay back in 2016.

Rudy and Mckayla Bruynius both died after they were hit by a giant wave at Fistral.

It is the month with the highest number of coastal fatalities and across the country almost 100 people have lost their lives since 2013.

And the majority of those were young men.

Now with the hot weather, school holidays and Boardmasters surf and music festival the charity is urging people to know the dangers.

50,000 people will be flocking to Newquay over the next few days as the festival gets underway and youngsters are being urged to help each other to stay safe at the coast.

RNLI lifesavers have been preparing for another busy August month, with sustained high temperatures seeing many young people head to the coast for holidays or to celebrate the end of their exams.

Additional research released to coincide with the launch of the RNLI's Respect the Water August initiative revealed 70% of young men aged 16-35 had found themselves in a dangerous or scary situation with their male friends, with over a third of those admitting potentially dangerous water was a factor.

The two important survival skills that could save lives:

  1. If you see someone struggling in the water at the coast, don't go in after them - you may get into trouble yourself. Instead call 999 immediately and ask for the Coastguard.
  2. f you are in trouble in cold water, fight your instinct to swim hard or thrash about, as this could lead to breathing in water and drowning. Instead, relax and FLOAT on your back, until you have regained control of your breathing.

"The water is going to have an effect on your body, instantly as you fall in, it's going to through your heart out of rhythm you are going to struggle with your breathing and your natural reaction is to thrash at the water to get to safety, but that is splashing water in your face, so effectively you are starting to drown yourself immediately.

"As soon as you fall into the water, go onto your back with your arms out to the side, elevate your chin towards the sky that is going to keep your airwaves away from the water, we've all done that position relaxing in a swimming pool on holiday, stay like that for a minute, that is going to allow your body to adjust to the temperature, your heart rate will settle down and your breathing will become more controlled." 

Newquay lifeguard supervisor Lewis Timson

Over a fifth of the young men surveyed thought jumping in to try and save their friend would be the best response if they fell unexpectedly into open water.

Encouragingly, the survey found that nearly all young men do share advice with their male friends but are more likely to offer it on topics such as money and relationships than on safety issues.

With 95% believing it is important to look out for their male friends, the RNLI wants to encourage more young men to share important safety skills, which could save lives.

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