THE RNLI is issuing a safety warning in the South West to anyone planning to head to the region’s south coast this weekend.
A strong easterly wind will cause treacherous sea conditions and big swell, unusual to this usually sheltered part of the coastline.
While the sun may be shining through the week and feel relatively warm, the easterly wind has begun to pick up, and is forecast to increase in strength from Friday through to Saturday.
People planning to visit the coast should think twice and consider the risk before carrying out any sea-based activities. This includes swimming, kayaking, stand-up-paddle-boarding and even coastal walking.
It is also very important to remember that at this time of year, while the air temperature can be warm, the sea is still very cold. The cold water combined with the waves and currents generated by the wind, could catch people out.
Steve Instance, RNLI Water Safety Lead for the South West, said: Our main concern is those east facing beaches or coastal areas that are usually sheltered from the prevailing winds and offer usually calm and safe bathing conditions.
“However, faced by strong easterly winds we’re expecting large waves and strong currents which will create dangerous conditions for anyone on or near the sea.
“We’d urge those considering going into the water, to take extra care or better still, wait a few days until the wind has died down or head to a lifeguarded beach where the lifeguards can offer advise.
“The strong easterly wind will also mean that people considering kayaking or stand up paddle boarding on any part of our coastline should take extra care as they can easily be carried out to sea.”
If you find yourself caught in a rip current, please adhere to the following safety advice:
- Swim parallel to the shore until free of the rip and then head for shore
- Do not try to swim against the rip current or you’ll get exhausted
- Always raise your hand and shout for help
Remember to FLOAT to live if you do get into difficulty and if you see somebody in trouble around the coast dial 999 and ask for the coastguard.