09 Aug Four-year high in Coastguard callouts as heatwave sees beaches packed | UK News
Coastguard rescue teams were called out to 340 incidents across the UK on Saturday – the highest number in a single day for more than four years.
According to the search and rescue agency, it responded to 186 calls to emergency services for a “wide range of incidents”.
They included people being cut off by the tide on beaches and children swept out to sea on inflatables.
In total, the service:
- Dealt with 221 incidents for the Coastguard Rescue Teams
- Rescued 146 people
- Assisted a further 371 people
The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) and independent lifeboats were also called out on 155 occasions.
The Maritime and Coastguard Agency said call-outs for Coastguard Rescue Teams, Coastguard Aircraft and Lifeboats are all logged individually before the total number is calculated later on.
This is due to some rescue services (lifeboats, search and rescue helicopters) being sent to the same incident.
It came after Saturday was declared the hottest day in August for 17 years, as temperatures reached more than 36C in the south east.
Images from beaches around the UK’s coast showed how they became packed as people soaked up the sunshine and warm weather, despite Britons being told to stay away due to coronavirus concerns.
Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole (BCP) Council’s beach check app showed 19 of its 24 beaches under red alert by the afternoon.
The red alert warned people to avoid the areas because safe social distancing was not possible.
The remaining beaches were under amber, meaning they were crowded and the public should “stay alert”.
Coastal towns Margate and Brighton were also packed during the day.
Saturday’s incident count represented a significant 145% increase compared to the average amount of call-outs they recorded throughout August 2019, the agency said.
The count also surpassed previous (and recent) busiest day over the past few years, Friday 31 July 2020, where 329 incidents were recorded.
HM Coastguard deputy head of coastal operations, Richard Hackwell, said people must remember to “respect the sea”.
“We’re heading into a period of more good weather so we want to remind you to check and double check tide times,” he said. “Even the most experienced swimmer or keen watersports enthusiast can get caught out by currents and tides.
“Plan your day out, always exercise caution and make sure you have a way of contacting us if you get into trouble.”
He added: “Every time our frontline teams respond – as they always do and always will – please don’t forget that they’re also put at risk too. Take extra care at the coast today and over the coming days. We don’t want you to remember your day-out for all the wrong reasons.”