HM Coastguard in Torbay has seen a 100% increase in incidents over the last two weeks compared with previous years, with people finding themselves in difficulty in the sea and around the coastline of Torbay.

Jon Kendray, Senior Coastal Operations Officer said: “Very high numbers of people are taking to our beaches and coastline. Emergencies have included swimmers, paddleboarders and kayakers in difficulty, tombstoning accidents, falls from height and broken down vessels.

“Now more than ever, people need to respect the sea and our coastline to ensure the safety of themselves and their families. Regardless of how well you think you know the coastline, or how experienced you are in your chosen sport, the sea can still catch you out. Before heading to the coast, check the weather and tide times and familiarise yourself with safety advice.

“Personal responsibility needs to be taken at all times. Your choices can put you, your friends and family at risk as well as our frontline responders and emergency service partners who are working round-the-clock to keep you safe. If you are visiting the beaches or coastline of Torbay have fun but please stay safe.”

Cllr Steve Darling, Leader of Torbay Council, said: “Restrictions are being eased a little and it is good to be able to go out and enjoy our beautiful Bay but we have to be extra cautious when out and about on our coastline. I have recently been sea kayaking and have noticed a surge in people on the water. However, not everyone is following our safety messages and some people are taking unnecessary and dangerous risks, which has sadly led to a high number of serious incidents.

“There have also been reports of anti-social behaviour in our communities and I would urge people to use our coastline and public open spaces sensibly and show respect to those around them at all times. We must also remember coronavirus has not gone away and we need to continue to follow the rules. Government guidelines around social distancing should continue to be observed by everyone.”

Cllr Nicole Amil, Chairman of Tor Bay Harbour Committee, said: “Our harbours and coastline are significant attractions to residents and visitors to the Bay. However, it is imperative that people follow the safety advice provided by the HM Coastguard and organisations such as the RNLI and other key volunteer groups.

“By following safety guidance, we are not putting additional pressure on our frontline responders and emergency service partners. I would like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to all of these organisations for their dedication and hard work, they help to keep all of us safe and our coastline a safe place to visit.”

Remember that if you do get into trouble or see someone who is in danger, call 999 and ask for the Coastguard.

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