Taxi firm's efforts to help prevent drowning in Sunderland

Picture by RNLI/Paul Nicholson
Picture by RNLI/Paul Nicholson
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A Sunderland taxi firm is doing its bit to help prevent needless deaths in Sunderland.

Station Taxis is displaying stickers in its taxis across the city in a bid to raise awareness about water safety, backing a campaign by the RNLI.

Picture by RNLI/Paul Nicholson

Picture by RNLI/Paul Nicholson

Trevor Hines, managing director of Station Taxis, said: “We are very pleased to support the RNLI in spreading this vital message.

"We have almost 200 vehicles and transport over 50,000 people each week, so we are hoping to raise awareness of the campaign with our customers and the wider community”

Figures for the past five years show 121 people died on the coastline of the northern England, and 51% of deaths occurred when people were taking part in activities such as walking, running, climbing and boating and were, therefore, unlikely to have intended to enter the water.

Slips and falls while walking and running contributed to the most coastal deaths in the region, accounting for 31 per cent.

Picture by RNLI/Paul Nicholson

Picture by RNLI/Paul Nicholson

The RNLI is aiming to halve the number of coastal deaths by 2024 through its Respect the Water.

This year it is focusing on warning people – particularly adult men – to be aware of the dangers of the coastline, as well as the water itself.

Andrew Gillies, Sunderland RNLI community safety manager, said: “We are extremely grateful to the management of Station Taxis for agreeing to support our vital campaign.

"The sea might look inviting, but it can be dangerously unpredictable, with hazards which can be fatal if not respected.

"Cold water is a major risk for anyone who ends up in the water – intentionally or otherwise. The body’s reaction to sudden immersion in cold water will trigger uncontrollable gasping, which can draw water into the lungs and lead to drowning.

"The coldness will also gradually shut down the use of limbs, making it very difficult even for strong swimmers to stay afloat.

"Currents under the surface can overwhelm even the strongest swimmers. They can drag people out of their depth so quickly, and if you try to swim against them you’ll become exhausted.

"We want people to enjoy the water but to make sure they respect it."

Those interested in finding out more about the dangers of the coast can visit the Respect the Water website and see for themselves at www.rnli.org/respectthewater or search #RespectTheWater on social media.

The RNLI is a registered charity relies on voluntary donations and legacies from the public for its income.

• Sunderland RNLI Lifeboat Station is the oldest continually operation lifeboat in the United Kingdom. It was originally opened in 1800 before being adopted by the RNLI in 1865.

The Sunderland team operates its own website at www.rnlisunderland.org where supporters can keep up to date with station specific activities, as well as Facebook and Twitter accounts.