HM Coastguard issue 'stark warning' to visitors flocking to coast for weekend heatwave

Jessica Carpani
 People enjoy the hot weather on the beach on May 29, 2020 in Bournemouth

Her Majesty’s Coastguard have issued a “stark warning” as they deal with “multiple incidents” at Devon beauty spots with visitors flocking to the coast for the heatwave.

With warm weather predicted for the weekend and an easing of lockdown, HM Coastguard has warned that local authorities and land owners may not have had the opportunity to make their usual safety provisions and the majority of beaches will not currently be lifeguarded.  

Last weekend three people died in separate incidents and HM Coastguard said there’s a real danger there could be more fatalities in the next few days.

Director of HM Coastguard Claire Hughes said: “We can’t emphasise this enough - the sea has no respect for whether you’re local or not, whether you’re experienced or not – the sea is unmerciful if it catches you out.

“We know how beautiful the coast is but it’s deadly if you get it wrong and your choices might put your family and friends at risk as well as yourself. And every time our frontline responders respond – as they always do and always will – they’re put at risk too.

She went on to urge people to check tide times, to leave inflatables at home, ensure you have fully charged phones and to “remember the sea has currents and rip tides that can’t easily be seen”.

Ms Hughes added: “Please keep safe and if you get into trouble and call 999 and ask for the Coastguard. Don’t make this weekend’s trip to the coast memorable for all the wrong reasons.”

Torbay Coastguard reported on Twitter on Friday afternoon that the third incident for Torbay had come in.

Drew Parkinson, HM Coastguard's Area Commander for South Devon & South-East Cornwall Coastline said they were dealing with “multiple incidents on the south coast of Devon involving people in the water/with paddleboards in difficulty”.

Writing on Twitter, he added: "Please do not enter the sea without appropriate equipment or means of calling for help.

“You’re putting your own, other peoples and rescuers' lives at risk. Resources are currently stretched dealing with numerous incidents.”

The Coastguard were called to Cornwall's coast on Thursday tasked with three incidents within an hour and a half.

Coastguards also attended six emergency call-outs in just four hours on Wirral's coastline.