Last summer the RNLI saw an increase to shouts as Scots took to the coast. Therefore, government plans which will permit people to travel freely within their local authority area has prompted the lifesaving charity to call for the public to stay safe.
“The change in restrictions we will see from Friday 2 April allows for greater travel in your local authority areas. With that, we expect many people to be eager to hit the coast.” said Jill Hepburn, RNLI Lifesaving Manager for Scotland
“However, just because the lockdown restrictions are being relaxed does not mean our coasts are safe, the dangers that have always been there remain. We ask those who are local to beaches to continue to be aware of the inherent dangers and to avoid taking risks.”
Michael Avril, Scotland’s Water Safety Lead for the RNLI and Chair of Water Safety Scotland said: “The Scottish public need to remember the following safety advice: Stay in familiar surroundings, don’t put yourself, your family and emergency services in danger by taking risks or assuming it ‘won’t happen to you’. If you do see someone in difficulty in the water or at the coast call 999 and ask for the Coastguard.”
Speaking on behalf of RNLI Stonehaven, lifeboat operations manager Andy Martin said: “We understand that many people will have been missing trips to the coast and will be eager for a change of scene or activity.
“However, we are really asking the public for their help. Our team of dedicated volunteers have remained on call throughout the pandemic but, in order to attend a shout, we must break physical distancing instructions, putting ourselves and our families at risk.
“We also cannot be everywhere at once, if we see a sudden increase in people visiting Stonehaven our volunteer run service could struggle to meet demand. Therefore, we are asking people to stay aware of the inherent risks.
The message from the RNLI in Scotland is clear, an easing of lockdown does not mean an instantly safer coast and water temperatures remain dangerously cold.