Borders MSP joins RNLI call on water safety as lockdown eases


Rachael Hamilton MSP has joined calls from the RNLI that people should take care as lockdown eases, allowing local trips to the beach.


The RNLI’s ‘Stop. Think. Stay Safe’ message comes after the Scottish Government plans will permit people to travel short distances, limited to five miles within their local area, for exercise including allowing outdoor swimming, kayaking and angling.


Mrs Hamilton called on the public to adhere to Government guidelines and minimise the risk of incidents occurring at sea.


The RNLI will only have lifeguards at St Andrews West Sands and Silversands starting from the 20th of June, all other beaches will be going unpatrolled, including Coldingham Bay.


Two lifeboat stations at either end of the bay will be on patrol during the summer; however, has joined calls with lifeguards in asking the RNLI to support a lifeguard service, with the potential for more visitors as lockdown eases.


Rachael Hamilton MSP said:


“People need to extremely careful when exercising locally along the coastline.


“During these challenging times, we do not need to be putting unnecessary pressure on our emergency services, who have done a fantastic job during the pandemic.


“If you are entering the water for physical activity, please take note of the RNLI message, ‘Stop. Think. Stay Safe’.


“I have written to the RNLI to ask that they ensure a full lifeguard service can operate in Coldingham Bay”.


Jacob Davies, RNLI Lifesaving Manager for Scotland said:


“With an unusually warm spring coupled with the easing of a lockdown which has seen many of us unable to visit our favourite beaches, we expect many people to be eager to hit the coast.


“However, just because the lockdown restrictions are being relaxed does not mean our coasts are safe, the dangers that have always been there remain. We ask those who are local to beaches to continue to be aware of the inherent dangers and to avoid taking risks. Our strong advice to the Scottish public, who are not local to a beach, is to exercise locally and not to travel to the coast.  Scotland’s air temperature may be warming up but the sea temperature remains consistently chilly all year, jumping or falling into cold water or spending longer periods than normal submerged in the water can lead to, potentially fatal, cold water shock”.


Michael Avril, Scotland’s Water Safety Lead for the RNLI and Chair of Water Safety Scotland said:


“The Scottish public need to remember the following safety advice: Stay in familiar surroundings, follow Scottish Government advice of remaining within five miles of your home, don’t put yourself, your family and emergency services at risk by taking risks or assuming it ‘won’t happen to you’.


“If you do see someone at risk call 999 and ask for the Coastguard.”