UK & World News

  • 24 July 2014, 9:58

Coastal Deaths At Highest Level In Four Years

New safety warnings are being issued after figures revealed that the number of coastal deaths has risen.

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) says 167 people in the UK died at the coast last year, the highest number in four years.

A further 368 people had to be rescued.

The charity will today launch a Respect the Water campaign with posters and advertisements highlighting the dangers of venturing into the water.

Ross Macleod, the RNLI'scoastal safety manager, explained that people can go into shock within seconds and can drown in just a few minutes.

"There are some hidden dangers that people need to be aware of: things like rip currents, which are strong bodies of water which can take you from shallow water out to deep water quickly.

"The best thing to do to avoid that is to swim at a lifeguarded beach between the red and yellow flags.

"Other things surround drinking before you go in the water. Obviously, it can inhibit your ability and judgement in the water, so it's best to have a drink after you've been for a swim and not before."

Slips, trips and falls while walking or running accounted for 32% of last year's coastal deaths, while 17% involved alcohol.

Around 68% of fatalities were men, with experts warning they are more likely to underestimate the power of the sea.

Elizabeth Toogood's uncle drowned after being caught in currents at his regular swimming spot off Weston-super-Mare.

Speaking to Sky News, she warned that anybody can get into danger in the water: "He knew the area really well, he was young, he was fit, he was competent in the water and I think that's what made it even more shocking.

"Nobody really knows how strong the currents are."

The campaign is being held in Portsmouth, Brighton, Clacton, Kingston-on-Thames, Margate, Blackpool, Newquay, Cardiff Bay and Queensferry.

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