Soaring temperatures and big ‘spring’ tides this week sparked a surge in emergency call-outs for Hoylake RNLI’s volunteer crew as hundreds of people headed to beaches around the Wirral coast.
Following the spike in incidents as warm weather continues, RNLI lifesavers are urging visitors to our coast to respect the water by checking tide times and taking particular care when heading out on the water.
Hoylake RNLI hovercraft was requested to launch on Monday 4 September at 5.32pm by HM Coastguard when six children on paddleboards were feared to have been swept out to sea by the outgoing tide in Leasowe Bay.
The hovercraft ‘Hurley Spirit’ launched to join New Brighton Lifeboat in the search for the children, who were soon located by the lifeboat over 700 metres offshore.
The children and their boards were brought on board the lifeboat and hovercraft and fortunately they required no medical attention. They were transferred safely ashore and passed to the care of their parents and waiting Wirral Coastguard Rescue Team officers.
The following afternoon, Tuesday 5 September, the hovercraft launched again when six people were reported to be cut off by the flooding tide in Leasowe Bay.
Arriving on scene, the RNLI crew found that five of the casualties had waded ashore through the rapidly filling tidal gutter, while one person was left cut off on the sandbank. The casualty was brought on board the hovercraft, before being flown ashore and passed to the Wirral Coastguard Rescue Team.
Hoylake RNLI hovercraft was tasked again on Wednesday 6 September at 1.12pm, by HM Coastguard when another person became cut off by the flooding tide in Leasowe Bay. The hovercraft launched and while en route, it was confirmed that the casualty had been assisted ashore safely by the Wirral Coastguard Rescue Team.
The three call-outs were among many taskings for the Wirral RNLI lifeboat crews at Hoylake, West Kirby, and New Brighton and local coastguard rescue teams.
Most of this week’s incidents involved people getting cut off by the tide. Always ensure you check and understand the tide times before heading out, keep an eye on your surroundings, and know your route to safety.
The RNLI is also reminding visitors to our coast that Leasowe Bay is no longer being patrolled by RNLI lifeguards this summer, while patrols at West Kirby, Moreton, Harrison Drive, The Plateaux, and New Brighton are now only on weekends until 24 September.
Chris Cousens, RNLI Regional Water Safety Lead, said, “As the peak season finishes for RNLI lifeguards and with a reduction of lifeguarded beaches, we’re asking people to continue to take care and be aware of the dangers.
“If you are planning on swimming at a lifeguarded beach, we highly recommend you swim between the red and yellow flags as this is the safest area and is most closely monitored by lifeguards.
“If you get into trouble in the water, Float to Live. Tilt your head back with ears submerged and try to relax and control your breathing. Use your hands to help you stay afloat and then call for help or swim to safety if you can.
“With warmer weather many may make the most of the evenings and in recent weeks there has been an increase in paddleboard rescues. When using paddleboards, please remember to avoid offshore winds, wear a buoyancy aid, carry a phone in a waterproof pouch and to wear an appropriate leash to reduce the chance of separation from your board.”
In an emergency at the coast, always dial 999 and ask for the Coastguard.
Image: Hoylake RNLI