Southport Lifeboat has relaunched its It’s Behind You beach safety campaign after a young man died and five people were rescued at Crosby Beach last night.
Volunteers from Southport Lifeboat had four call outs to five incidents last weekend alone.
They are now warning people of the dangers of swimming or walking along our coast as the school summer holidays begin and this week’s heatwave continues.
Emergency services were called to Crosby Beach at around 7.24pm last night (Tuesday 20th July) following reports that five people were in difficulty in the water. Merseyside Police, Merseyside Fire and Rescue, North West Ambulance Service, RNLI and the Coastguard all attended the incident.
Life savers recovered the people from the water to the beach.
Two people did not require medical assistance but three others were taken to hospital. Sadly, one of those people has died. A second remains in hospital in a critical but stable condition and a third has been discharged.
There have been 12 confirmed water-related fatalities in the last four days across the country, with searches continuing for four other missing people in water. Five people remain in hospital as a result of open water-related incidents.
Nick Porter from Southport Lifeboat said: “As the School holidays we would like to remind people of the Southport Lifeboat #ItsBehindYou campaign again throughStand up for Southport.
“We had four call outs to five incidents over the weekend, and I know the Coastguard and Lifeguards had other incidents too that we were not involved in.”
Southport Lifeboat launched its new campaign called #itsbehindyou last year – a beach safety campaign aimed at educating members of the public with how to stay safe when visiting Southport.
Nick Porter from Southport Lifeboat said: “A combination of warm weather, more people visiting and there being no RNLI Lifeguard cover on Southport Beach last summer led to our volunteer crews being called out more than ever before.
“The campaign has therefore been created to highlight the dangers of our coast and provide safety advice.
“Last year, our crews helped over 40 people who had become cut off by the tide at Southport in one incident.
“We also rescued two teenagers who were minutes away from the sandbank they were trapped on from being completely covered by the tide.
“Our message to people is this. When you are at the beach, check to see whether the water has crept behind you while you are relaxing on the beach. Keep checking whether #ItsBehindYou.
If you get into difficulty, call 999 and ask for the Coastguard.”
Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service (MFRS) is also warning of the dangers of open water after last night’s tragedy.
MFRS Area Manager Gary Oakford, said: “Our thoughts are with the family and friends following the tragic death of a young man this week on Crosby beach.
“Sadly, this is the latest in a large number of water-related fatalities across the country during this period of hot weather. We would urge people to make sure they are aware of the dangers of open water, particularly when carrying out activities in and around open water.
“We know that around 50% of people who drown in the UK were taking part in normal everyday activities near water at the time, with many having no intention of entering the water.
“Open water swimming is very different to swimming in a pool and is much more dangerous. Even at this time of year when temperatures are warm, the water is often a lot colder than you expect and can affect your ability to swim and sudden immersion can lead to cold water shock. There are also hidden currents that can quickly lead to difficulty for even the strongest swimmers.”
Tips for staying safe near open water:
- Be aware and take notice of any warning signs
- The water is cold – even on very warm days. Sudden immersion can lead to cold water shock, which can cause gasping and intake of water. Stay clear of the edge when walking or running near water.
- River banks and cliff edges may be unstable and give way, particularly after bad weather
- Depth can be difficult to estimate
- You can get in, but can you get out? People often get into difficulty with steep sides and slimy banks
- Debris under the water such as shopping trolleys, broken glass and cans can cause serious injury and trap you
- The water is untreated and can make you ill
- There may be hidden currents
- Avoid alcohol and drugs when carrying out activities in our near water.
- Going to the beach? We advise you to go to a beach with a lifeguard. Be aware of which flag is flying as this will warn you of any dangers. Red and yellow flags means lifeguards are on patrol.
- If you or someone else gets into trouble, dial 999 and ask for the Fire & Rescue Service if inland or Coastguard if near the coast.
- Do not enter the water yourself – you could also get into difficulty. Look for something that floats or that they could hold onto and throw it to them.
- If you fall into the water unexpectedly, or get into difficulty, fight your instinct to thrash around. Instead, lead back, extend your arms and legs and float.
Cllr Ian Maher, Leader of Sefton Council, said: “Our heartfelt thoughts and condolences are with the family of the man who tragically died following the incident at Crosby beach last night. We are sending our thoughts to the family of the other casualty who remains in hospital.
“Thanks go out to the emergency services in attendance, alongside members of the public, who we understand responded as quickly as possible under extremely challenging circumstances.”
It costs £60,000 to keep Southport Lifeboat functioning all year round. That is no mean task during ordinary times, let alone the extraordinary times we currently find ourselves in.
Southport Lifeboat is funded entirely through public donations, and is independent of the RNLI.
There are other ways you can help the charity continue to save lives, including joining LifeboatLotto or online donations.
For more details about the emergency service, or if you would like to dominate, please visit their website: