Marine Unit issue water safety advice to families flocking to the region's beaches and beauty spots this summer
20 Jul | 16:01

The advice coincides with Sunday's World Drowning Prevention Day raising awareness about the potential dangers in water

Stay safe by the sea this summer.

That is the message from Northumbria Police’s Marine Unit as the region flock to our region’s beaches and beauty spots whilst the warm weather continues.

Officers from the specialist team are asking North East residents to be careful as part of World Drowning Prevention Day that will take place on Sunday (July 25).

The awareness day aims to raise educate the public on the dangers posed when entering water without taking the correct safety measures, with figures showing 254 people died because of drowning last year.

And with a natural surge of visitors to coastal locations and beauty spots in our region during the summer holidays, marine police officers are urging the public enjoy the water responsibly.

Sergeant Suzanne Crossley, of Northumbria Police’s Marine Unit, said: “People understandably want to enjoy the stunning beaches we have here in the North East during the summer holidays however it is important to know how to do this safely.

“The temperature of the North Sea ranges from 13 to 15 degrees Celsius, with cold water shock occurring at any temperature under 15 degrees, so please be careful.

“When cold water shock takes place, breathlessness occurs which coupled with initial panic can lead to inhaling water into the lungs which sadly in many previous cases has been fatal so please be careful.”

The police are advising anyone who find themselves in difficulty in the water to follow the RNLI’s ‘Float to Live’ principles. They are:

  • If you fall into water, fight your instinct to thrash around.
  • Lean back, extend your arms and legs.
  • If you need to, gently move them around to help you float.
  • Float until you can control your breathing.
  • Only then, call for help or swim to safety.

Sgt Crossley added: “For many people their natural instinct will be to try and save someone in difficulty but as soon as you enter the water you will be putting your life at danger too.

“Please do not enter the water yourself and instead dial 999 and ask for the Coastguard.

“The coastguard, Marine Unit and our colleagues at the fire service are highly trained and able drive boats at high speed with skill and precision to get to a casualty as quickly as possible.

“The best support you can give is keeping eyes on the person in danger, providing valuable information so we can pinpoint an exact location.

“If you see someone in danger, act fast, act sensibly. Throw a life ring if possible, keep your eyes on the person and wait for emergency services to arrive”.

For more information on how to stay safe in water you can visit the RNLI website here: https://rnli.org/safety/beach-safety

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