HM Coastguard has warned the public of the dangers of taking the ocean for granted after it dealt with more than 300 incidents yesterday – the most in one day for more than four years, with Leven and St Andrews Coastguard teams called to three separate incidents along the Fife coast.
The total number of incidents for the whole of the UK was 329, with 232 callouts for coastguard rescue teams. Lifeboats – both RNLI and independent were called out 129 times, aircraft were sent out 22 times and hovercraft, three.
There was a high number of incidents involving people cut off by the tide and reports of missing children, as well as swimmers and paddleboarders getting into difficulty.
Julie-Anne Wood, Duty Operations Director for HM Coastguard said: “Yesterday was a beautiful day weather wise in much of the UK. It was less beautiful a day for those who got themselves into trouble and had to be rescued. Some people will remember 31st July for all the wrong reasons.
“We completely understand that people want to enjoy the coast. We also know that even the most experienced swimmer, paddle boarder and walker can be caught out by currents and tides respectively. We’re heading into some more good weather and we would really ask you to check and double check the tide times – put a timer warning on a smartphone to remind you – be aware of things like rip currents, and make sure you have a means of contacting us if things do go wrong.
“As the figures show, we’ll always respond when someone calls 999 and asks for the Coastguard, we’ll always answer distress on VHF and we’ll always do everything we can to rescue those in need. All we ask in return is that you take extra care at the coast – it can be unmerciful to the unwary and even to those who know it well.”