Warning as coastguards prepare to strike

COASTGUARDS at Felixstowe today urged people to make sure they take proper safety precautions before venturing onto the water this weekend when many of their colleagues will be on strike.

COASTGUARDS at Felixstowe today urged people to make sure they take proper safety precautions before venturing onto the water this weekend when many of their colleagues will be on strike.

Members of the Public and Commercial Services Union will walk-out from Friday to Sunday, leaving many Coastguard stations unmanned - although officials pledge that distress calls will be answered.

Felixstowe and Ipswich coastguard Jo Arlow said he would have a full team of coastguard rescue officers at Felixstowe ready in case there were emergencies.

He said: “I am not one for striking and I will be getting as many of my team out and about as possible. But I am very worried about what will happen when people ring 999.


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“I would urge people to be extra careful and to make sure they know all the safety rules before they go out.”

Boat users should ensure they get a full marine weather forecast before putting to sea, skippers should make sure everyone on board is wearing lifejackets, fixed and handheld radios should be taken, in-date flares should be carried, warm clothing should be stowed in the event of a lengthy breakdown, and a torch and spare batteries carried.

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Crews should also make sure someone on-shore knows where they are and their plans.

Maritime and Coastguard Agency chief executive, Peter Cardy said contingency arrangements were in place to ensure the MCA will continue to provide an emergency service to all beach, cliff and sea users this weekend.

He said: “The message is still the same - if you see something that you believe is dangerous or putting people's lives at risk, don't delay. Use the distress VHF Channel 16, or if near a shoreline, dial 999 and ask for the Coastguard making sure you know your own position.”

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