With people flocking to the coast there has been a spike in the number of people having to be rescued from a wide range of inflatables – ranging from unicorns and flamingos to inflatable boats.
One lifeboat station in Hampshire had to be called out to rescue four people from inflatables in trouble in just one day.
Jon Oxenham, Community Safety Product Manager for the RNLI said: “Inflatables aren’t designed for the beach, and it is easy to find yourself quickly swept out to sea.
“If you do choose to use them, we would like to remind people that they should be used near the shore and only between the red and yellow flags on lifeguarded beaches and to ensure their children are safely supervised. Never take inflatables out in big waves, and never use them when the orange windsock is flying as this indicates offshore winds which will blow inflatables further out to sea.
“Whenever you take to the sea we recommended that you and your children wear a suitable lifejacket or buoyancy aid. This will provide the necessary flotation should the inflatable suffer a puncture or similar.”
The hot weather has also meant that other lifeboat stations around the country have been busy rescuing people who have been blown out to sea on inflatables. with seven callouts over last weekend
Call outs to inflatables continued on Monday, with the volunteers at Hayling Island RNLI and Portsmouth RNLI (Hampshire) called out to a white unicorn floating out to sea. On the way, they recovered a flamingo inflatable (with no one on board) and assisted an inflatable dinghy with two people on board and an inflatable kayak with one person in the water clinging on and unable to swim, with the other occupant having made it ashore. A full-scale search involving three lifeboats and a UK Coastguard helicopter was launched in case someone had been on board the flamingo. It was later reported abandoned.
Thankfully these were all resolved and the people (and flamingo and unicorn) returned safely to dry land. However, it could have been a very different outcome.
The RNLI is reminding people that blow-up toys and airbeds are designed for pools and not the sea where they can easily be swept out.
Image Credits: RNLI.