RNLI issues warning to people visiting Hastings and Bexhill beaches during extreme weather

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) has urged people to stay safe near the coast ahead of a weekend that is expected to bring gale force winds to England.

Tuesday, 9th March 2021, 5:06 pm

The RNLI said the severe weather predicted could make our coastlines particularly dangerous.

The lifesaving charity has urged people to exercise extreme caution if visiting the shoreline, especially along exposed cliffs, seafronts and piers, if local government guidelines allow them to visit the coast.

The expected cold weather, heavy rain and up to 70mph winds around the coast for England and Wales pose a severe safety risk to those visiting the coast, said the RNLI.

Hastings seafront pictured on 27/2/21 during the UK's third national lockdown. SUS-210227-133306001

The Met Office has issued a yellow safety warning for wind, coming into force at 9pm on Wednesday through to 3pm on Thursday.

The weather is expected to stay unsettled with blustery showers and inland gales for the weekend.

Gareth Morrison, RNLI Head of Water Safety, said: “During lockdown, RNLI lifeboats and stations remain operational and will launch around the clock where there is risk to life.

“We would encourage everyone to follow the latest government guidelines on what they are able to do and where they are able to go during lockdown, but for anyone visiting a coastal area please understand the risks to be as safe as possible and not put unnecessary strain on front line services.

File: Herbrand Walk/Cooden Beach SUS-200923-115947001

“In a normal year around, 150 people lose their lives at the coast and we know that more than half of those never intended to be in the water. So, whether you are walking, running or cycling at the coast, please be extra responsible and avoid taking unnecessary risk or entering the water.

“In particular, we ask people to stay well back from stormy, wintery seas and cliff edges, check tide times before you go, take a phone with you, and call 999 or 112 and ask for the Coastguard if you or someone else is in trouble.”

The RNLI’s key water safety advice is: take care if walking near cliffs – be aware of ice and frost, know your route and keep dogs on a lead; check weather forecasts and tide times daily; take a fully charged phone; check your equipment is in good working order; be aware of the conditions and your capabilities and only enter the water if it is safe to do so.

In an emergency call 999 or 112 and ask for the Coastguard.