Video: Coastguard warning after beachgoers are blown out to sea on paddling pools
HM coastguard has warned the public that inflatables are not for the coast after foolish beachgoers in the UK had to be rescued after going to sea in paddling pools and other inflatable toys.
Following the recent spell of sunny weather across the UK, emergency services have attended multiple incidents of people needing help after their inflatable was blown out to sea, leading the coastguard to issue stark warnings to the public.
Blown out to sea on a paddling pool
On 8 June, the helicopter based at Prestwick in Scotland was called out to a rescue when the paddling pool with three people on board started taking on water.
The inflatable ended up so far offshore that the footage from the helicopter cannot see land.
The three were winched to safety before being returned to shore where they were met by Ardrossan and Ayr coastguard rescue teams.
In a statement posted on Facebook, the Ardrossan coastguard rescue teams said: ‘Since Tuesday (6 June) evening, the Ardrossan coastguard rescue team has responded to FOUR separate emergency callouts across Ayrshire with seven people being rescued after being blown out to sea on inflatables. This includes three people being airlifted by helicopter yesterday evening after being blown out to sea on an inflatable near to Irvine.’
A spokesperson for the Ardrossan coastguard rescue team says: “Recent days have once again highlighted the dangers of inflatables at the coast. These inflatable pool toys are designed for use in the swimming pool and are not intended for use in the sea.
“Fortunately all of this week’s incidents have had successful outcomes due to the swift actions of the public by dialling 999 and asking for the coastguard, and the quick response from attending emergency services and the support provided by the wider maritime community.
“We would urge everyone to leave the inflatable toys at home if you’re intending on visiting the coast and ask anyone undertaking any sort of water sport activity to always check the weather forecast and wind direction before setting off. It’s not worth taking the risk if it’s an offshore wind. Please also make sure you have a lifejacket or floatation aid suitable for your activity and have a means of calling for help.A spokesperson for the Ardrossan coastguard rescue team
Another incident in the area involved a dinghy with four people on board as well as two people in difficulty on a paddleboard.
Increase of issues with inflatables
Newhaven lifeboat has also been called to recover a family being blown offshore, this time in a dinghy, while Plymouth and Yealm coastguard rescue teams were joined by partners in the rescue of four paddleboarders in difficulty in Bovisand Bay.
Kingsbridge and Bigbury coastguard rescue teams and Hope Cove Independent Lifeboat also recovered four people stranded on rocks having been blown offshore on paddleboards from Leas Foot beach, Thurlestone, on Friday.
The lifeboat was able to rescue everyone and bring them to the beach to be met and checked over by coastguard teams.
It follows the rescue of two people from an inflatable duck at Westward Ho! Beach last week.
Coastguard warns of dangers of inflatables at sea
As reported by MIN, this is not the first time the coastguard and rescue services have had to issue warnings about the use of inflatables at sea. After the RNLI helped 346 people in incidents involving inflatables in 2019, it launched a campaign to stop people using inflatables in the sea.
Warmer weather has seen people flock to the beaches across the UK, but the sunny conditions have also been accompanied by strong tides and offshore breezes, which has caught many out.
The coastguard says to leave the inflatables at home and pack a lifejacket and wetsuit instead.
HM coastguard network commander Callum Jarvis says: “It is so important that people understand the risks involved in using inflatables at beaches.
“Inflatables are very light for their large surface areas, making them vulnerable to even seemingly mild breezes.
“The sea can be deceptive and look much calmer than it really is, so as soon as you’re clear of the protection of headlands and bays, winds can really pick up.
“Tides and currents can also add to the dangers, which goes for all water-users and beach-goers, so it pays to check the tides and understand the local area.
“Ultimately, we would always advise to leave the inflatable at home, it is simply not worth the risk.”
Images courtesy of HM coastguard and RNLI