Rescue teams on Yorkshire Coast gear up for what could be a busy August bank holiday

Rescue teams in Scarborough and Filey are urging people to stay safe as they prepare for what could be one of their busiest August bank holidays yet.

By Sarah Fitton
Tuesday, 25th August 2020, 7:28 am

With many unable to enjoy holidays abroad this summer, the past few months have seen people flocking to the area’s beaches.

Community Safety Officer for Filey RNLI Chris Burrows, who is also Deputy Harbour Master for Scarborough, estimated the East Coast has been 30 per cent busier than usual this summer.

But more people means more pressure on the area’s lifeboat, coastguard and lifeguard teams.

A lifeguard at Sandsend brings ashore an inflatable whale which had blown out to sea ... luckily this one had no children on board.

“It’s definitely been busier,” said Mr Burrows. “We’re expecting a bumper weekend.”

Even poor weather has not deterred people, he said, with Filey beach still proving popular in thick fog last week.

On July 31, HM Coastguard reported dealing with more than 300 incidents across the UK – the most in one day for more than four years.

In Scarborough and Filey, there have been call-outs to people cut off by the tide as well as searches for missing children and help for swimmers getting into difficulty.

The area’s lifeboat volunteers are urging people not to bring inflatables to the beach after several call outs to rescue people in blow-up dinghies.

Inflatables are one of the most common reasons for lifeboat and lifeguard call outs.

“Inflatables are easy to get hold of,” said Mr Burrows. “You walk along any seafront and they’re there for sale.

“But they’re not meant for beach use. They’re designed for swimming pools or sheltered water.”

He warned it does not take much wind to see an inflatable swept out to sea. He said people put their children in them then turn around for a minute and when they look back, the inflatable and their youngsters are getting carried away.

“The issue has always been there but we’re trying to make people more aware that these are not designed for the beach,” he said.

Scarborough RNLI’s community safety officer, John Kitto, added: “We understand the appeal of inflatables but people often don’t see the dangers involved in using them.

“We don’t want to spoil anyone’s fun but they must be aware of the danger.

“We are trying to educate people who buy them here and suggest using a weight attached to a rope, in the water, which acts like a drag and helps prevent these light craft, such as the unicorn, floating out to sea.”

Anyone determined to bring an inflatable to the beach should make sure they choose a lifeguarded beach, and use their inflatable close to shore and between the red and yellow flags.

Children should always be supervised and inflatables should never be used in big waves or when an orange windsock is flying.

If you see someone in trouble on the coast, dial 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard.

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