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Bank holiday beach warning goes out to Cornwall

Bank holiday beach warning goes out to Cornwall

Published by Sarah Yeoman at 6:10am 22nd May 2020.

A bank holiday beach warning is going out to Cornwall amid fears there could be another spike in coastguard call outs.

Last year, the RNLI responded to over 5,000 rescues on the Duchy's coastline alone, most of those were in the Newquay and Padstow area.

But there is no lifeguard cover this bank holiday weekend because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The RNLI and HM Coastguard are calling on families to look out for each other, avoid using inflatables, and know what to do in an emergency at the coast.

With lockdown restrictions now easing in England and good weather widely forecast, it is expected that many people will head for day trips to the coast and beaches.

However, because of government measures to control the spread of Covid-19, the RNLI has had to pause the rollout of the charity’s normal seasonal lifeguard service, so there will be no lifeguards over the bank holiday on any of the 248 beaches the charity usually covers.

The charity is working towards having lifeguards patrolling around 70 beaches during the peak (summer) season but, in the meantime, and in the absence of lifeguard patrols, is urging families to follow some vital safety advice at the coast, to help save lives.

The advice of the RNLI and HM Coastguard is as follows:

  • Have a plan - check the weather forecast, tide times and read local hazard signage
  • Keep a close eye on your family – on the beach and in the water
  • Don’t use inflatables
  • Don’t allow your family to swim alone
  • If you get into difficulties or fall into the water unexpectedly, FLOAT TO LIVE: fight your instinct to thrash around, lean back, extend your arms and legs, and try to float to regain your composure before signalling for help or swimming to safety
  • In an emergency dial 999 and ask for the Coastguard

Whilst RNLI volunteer lifeboat crews and HM Coastguard are still on call ready to respond to emergencies, to reduce the demand on them and other emergency services the message is clear: the public need to be ‘beach smart’, aware of dangers and take responsibility for themselves and their loved ones.

Last year RNLI lifeguards aided more than 29,000 people on UK beaches in more than 17,000 incidents, saving 154 lives.

They also came to the rescue of 346 people in incidents involving inflatables and helped to reunite nearly 1,800 lost children and teenagers with their families.

Despite the ongoing challenges posed by coronavirus and social distancing the RNLI still hopes to provide a lifeguard service on around 30% of the beaches the charity usually covers in time for the traditional peak summer season.

In the South West in 2019 the RNLI responded to and helped many people:



People aided

South West England


Carrick & Kerrier



Newquay & Padstow






South East Cornwall



North Cornwall, North Devon & Somerset



West Dorset & South Devon



East Dorset & Jersey



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