Wales' bank holiday beachgoers urged to 'take care'

A RNLI lifeguard on a quad Image copyright RNLI

The RNLI has urged coastal visitors to take care at the seaside as lifeguards return to some north Wales beaches for the bank holiday.

Lifeguards have completed their training and will start their seasonal service on Rhyl and Prestatyn beaches on Saturday.

The RNLI took over lifeguard operations there from Denbighshire council in 2016.

It urged people to "respect the water and visit a life-guarded beach".

This year lifeguards will be on duty on both beaches every day from Saturday to 3 June, with weekend-only cover thereafter until 1 July, when the peak season begins.

That runs until 3 September, with lifeguards on duty between 10:00 and 18:00.

'Cold-water shock'

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Media captionWatch BBC reporter Natalie Crockett try out the RNLI floating technique

The safety advice follows the rescue of a child from Aberavon beach in Neath Port Talbot on Friday.

Coastguards were alerted to a boy in difficulty in the water by the car park side of the beach at about 19:00 BST.

Port Talbot coastguard rescue team deployed two water rescue technicians, and following an unsuccessful attempt to throw a rescue line, one entered the water and brought the boy to safety.

A Port Talbot coastguard spokesman said they have had "multiple fatalities in that exact sport due to the incredibly strong undercurrent".

"You only need to be ankle deep for the force of the current to pull you under," they said.

Image copyright Google
Image caption Aberavon beach

RNLI lifeguard supervisor Matthew Jessop said: "It's always an exciting time of year when our lifeguards begin their safety service and our team are trained and ready to go.

"Beaches in the area are beginning to get busier as the summer weather arrives, but we urge people to respect the water and visit a life-guarded beach, where there are trained professionals to help keep you and your group safe."

He warned people water temperatures "remain cold" and people should be aware of the dangers of "cold-water shock".

"Remember to swim between the red and yellow flags, where our lifeguards are on hand to help, and please do come and talk to one of our team if you have any safety queries," Mr Jessop added.

RNLI lifeguards will patrol 38 beaches across Wales in 2017. Last year, lifeguards across Wales responded to about 1,270 incidents and rescued or assisted more than 1,400 people.

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