Busiest weekend of year for coastguards

Durdle Door in Dorset where crowds on the beach watched three youths who were tombstoning being rescued

ACROSS the country, HM Coastguard responded to 447 incidents over the weekend to help people who found themselves in difficulty, making it the busiest of 2020 to date.

Sunday saw a 168% increase on the May 2019 average, with 241 incidents, making it the busiest day of the year so far and Saturday was the second busiest day of the year with 206 incidents.

The call-outs included the major incident at Durdle Door, in Dorset, where three people were seriously injured after ‘tombstoning’ off cliffs.

Coastguards were also called to Axmouth harbour on Monday evening, after a man who jumped from the harbour wall was swept out to sea and was said to be “barely conscious” when rescued.

HM Coastguard Duty Commander Matt Leat said: “Very high numbers of people took to the beaches, coast and sea this weekend which led to a huge increase in the number of incidents.

“Boating, swimming and other sea-based activities are now allowed again across the UK, as is spending time on the beach. However, now more than ever, people need to respect the sea and the coast to ensure the safety of themselves and their families.

“Regardless of how well you know the coast, or how experienced you are in your chosen sport, the sea can still catch you out.

“If you are visiting the beach with your children, have fun but stay safe. Make sure you have sight of your children at all times.

“In addition, the government guidelines around social distancing should continue to be observed by everyone in the UK.”

If you get into trouble at sea or on the coast call 999 and ask for the coastguard and we will come to your aid.

But coronavirus hasn’t gone away and we all need to follow the rules. Remember your choices might put people, including yourself and frontline responders, at risk. Take extra care in these extraordinary times.

Woodmead Halls

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