Warning against using novelty inflatables in the sea after spate of rescues

They’ve become a must-have instagram accessory in recent years, but the RNLI have issued a warning against taking inflatable novelties in the sea.

Wednesday, 17th July 2019, 3:11 pm
Updated Wednesday, 17th July 2019, 11:22 pm

Last year the RNLI were called out to rescue a couple on an inflatable flamingo off the coast of South Shields, and the region’s lifesaving manager Carl Harris said elsewhere in the country volunteers have been called out to a similar rescue earlier this year.

He said: “At this time we’d like to remind people that inflatables that are widely available to buy are not suitable for the sea. We’ve had a number of rescues across the country already this year including two young girls swept out to sea in an inflatable flamingo.”

Mr Harris issued the warning as the RNLI and Sunderland City Council joined forces to remind people to only swim at lifeguarded beaches.

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RNLI beach safetry advice ahead of summer holidays with supervisor Sandy Kerr and senior lifeguard Sam Surtees

He said: “It’s important people always visit a lifeguarded beach and swim between the red and yellow flags as this is the safest place to enjoy the water. Our lifeguards will be on duty from 10am to 6pm daily.”

Lifeguards patrol both Roker and Seaburn beaches between the hours of 10am and 6pm through the summer.

With pupils starting to break up for school holidays, Councillor John Kelly, Sunderland City Council’s cabinet member for communities and culture, pointed out that drowning was the third highest accidental cause of death among young people in the United Kingdom

He said: "We're lucky enough to have some of the best beaches in the country along with some very attractive river banks too and we want everyone who visits them to have a fantastic time.

RNLI supervisor Sandy Kerr, left, and senior lifeguard Sam Surtees at Roker Beach.

“But with the fine weather we're also reminding people of how they can help themselves and their families to stay safe.

"For example swimming in the sea is very different to swimming in a swimming pool and it's very easy to get caught in a rip current that pulls you out to sea or to get cut off, so it's important to choose a lifeguarded beach and to swim between the red and yellow flags.”