Northern Ireland news

More than 860,000 people visited beaches manned by lifeguards last summer

The RNLI said its 11 lifeguard teams along the Causeway Coast and Co Down came to the aid of 384 people in 2021

MORE than 860,000 people visited Northern Ireland beaches manned by lifeguards last summer, new figures show.

The RNLI said its 11 lifeguard teams along the Causeway Coast and Co Down came to the aid of 384 people in 2021. Lifeboats at 10 stations brought a further 370 people to safety.

The charity said it is expecting a busy summer ahead and warned beach-goers that sea temperatures remain dangerously cold, increasing the risk of cold water shock.

The RNLI said anyone who gets into difficulties should remember to 'float to live': lean back, using your arms and legs to stay afloat, control your breathing, then call for help or swim to safety.

Kevin Rahill from the RNLI said it was important people know what to do in an emergency.

He said the coastal environment "can be very unpredictable, particularly during early summer when the risk of cold water shock significantly increases, as air temperatures warm but water temperatures remain dangerously cold".

The RNLI said people should visit a lifeguarded beach and swim between the red and yellow flags this summer.

"It's important to remember to swim between those flags because lifeguards put them on the safest stretch of water and patrol this area," he said.

A full list of RNLI lifeguarded beaches can be found at rnli.org/find-my-nearest/lifeguarded-beaches

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Northern Ireland news