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RNLI urges folk to stay safe on the water this Easter

Kirkwall Lifeboat. (Graham Campbell)

The RNLI is encouraging folk to respect the water and stay safe during the Easter break.

With Scotland enforcing the stay local message, this spring, many families may choose to take to their nearest seaside location for a spot of fun in the sun.

Michael Avril, Scotland’s Water safety lead for the RNLI and chairman of Water Safety Scotland is keen to remind folk that they must always remain aware when it comes to open water.

He said: “The Scottish public need to remember the following safety advice: Stay in familiar surroundings, don’t put yourself, your family and emergency services in danger by taking risks or assuming it ‘won’t happen to you’. If you do see someone in difficulty in the water or at the coast call 999 and ask for the Coastguard.”

Speaking on behalf of Kirkwall lifeboat, Graham Campbell said: “We understand that many people will have been missing trips to the coast and will be eager for a change of scene or activity.

“However, we are really asking the public for their help.  Our team of dedicated volunteers have remained on call throughout the pandemic but, in order to attend a shout, we must break physical distancing instructions, putting ourselves and our families at risk.

“We also cannot be everywhere at once, if we see a sudden increase in people visiting the coast and local beaches our volunteer run service could struggle to meet demand. Therefore, we are asking people to stay aware of the inherent risks.

“Please observe local weather forecasts and tide times. The message from the RNLI in Scotland is clear, an easing of lockdown does not mean an instantly safer coast and water temperatures remain dangerously cold.”