RNLI in Scotland issues important safety advice ahead of Easter
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With the Scottish Government ‘stay at home’ message set to end on Friday, the RNLI in Scotland is urging people to take extra care should they be heading to the coast this Easter Bank Holiday weekend.
Last summer the RNLI saw an increase in shouts as Scots took to the coast.
Government plans which will permit people to travel freely within their local authority area has prompted the lifesaving charity to call for the public to stay safe.
RNLI Lifesaving manager for Scotland Jill Hepburn said: “The change in restrictions we will see from Friday April 2 allows for greater travel in your local authority areas.
"With that, 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.”
Scotland’s water safety lead for the RNLI and chairman of Water Safety Scotland Micheal Avril 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 Aberdeen Lifeboat Station, Cal Reed, Coxswain 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 cannot be everywhere at once, if we see a sudden increase in people visiting Aberdeen Beach, Greyhope Bay and Cove Bay or our local rivers, our volunteer run service could struggle to meet demand.
"Therefore, we are asking people to stay aware of the inherent risks.”
Aberdeen lifeboat station is flanked by stations in Stonehaven and Peterhead, but with these also being busy spots, the stations risk not being on hand to support one another if an incident required it.
Local tide times and weather can be found on the RNLI website.
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.