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Warning over swimming at Suffolk beaches with no lifeguards on duty

PUBLISHED: 07:30 05 June 2020

Lifeguards are not on duty at many of Suffolk's beaches due to coronavirus Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Lifeguards are not on duty at many of Suffolk's beaches due to coronavirus Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Sarah Lucy Brown

Coastguard rescue crews are urging Suffolk residents to respect the dangers of the sea following a spate of serious incidents elsewhere in the country.

Rescue crews have been called to a series of accidents throughout the UK in the last few weeks, including an incident in Cornwall where a teenage girl died after becoming trapped under her capsized boat.

The RNLI had previously warned lifeguards will only be on duty at around 30% of beaches throughout the peak summer season.

Government guidance allows people to visit beaches in groups of six, as long as the two-metre social distancing rule is adhered to.

Now the head of a Suffolk crew is pleading with would-be swimmers to avoid getting into potentially dangerous situations in the water as all rescue services have been drastically scaled back in the wake of the Covid-19 outbreak.

John Cresswell, chairman and first coxswain of Felixstowe Coast Patrol, said crews are not patrolling in Suffolk waters at this time - but said they will be on standby in the event of emergencies.

He said: “All we can ask is that people are very careful.

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“The guidelines have been quite clear and we are still in the lockdown. The main idea of the lockdown is to protect our emergency services.

“We don’t want people to stop having fun - but we need to be careful.

“If you must go afloat in the water then make sure you have a plan.

“We will be out if necessary, but we will be putting our crews at risk.”

HM Coastguard have said people should only swim in the sea if a lifeguard is on duty, in line with government guidance about visiting the coast.

Claire Hughes, director of HM Coastguard, added: “The government guidance is clear – if you intend to swim when visiting the coast you should only do so at beaches where there is a lifeguard on duty.

“Help us to help you by following government guidance and respecting the sea.

“It doesn’t matter how local or experienced you are, we know just from these last few days that, sadly, the sea can catch anybody out and be unmerciful when it does.”

MORE: ‘Everyone is worried things are happening too quickly’ - Suffolk coast’s fears on lockdown easing


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