Lifeboat cox issues stay safe warning ahead of lockdown ease

Oban lifeboat station's coxswain Ally Cerexhe.

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Oban lifeboat coxswain Ally Cerexhe is calling on people to stay safe despite Scottish Government plans to ease lockdown today allowing people to travel for exercise including outdoor swimming, kayaking and angling activities.

The RNLI’s important safety warning comes as people will be permitted to travel short distances, limited to five miles in their area, to exercise.

Mr Cerexhe said: ‘We understand that many people will have been missing trips to the coast and will be eager for a change of scene or activity. However, we are really asking the public for their help. Our team of dedicated volunteers is always there to help but, in order to attend a shout, we must break physical distancing instructions, putting ourselves and our families at risk. We also cannot be everywhere at once, if we see a sudden increase in people visiting the local area, our volunteer run service could struggle to meet demand. Therefore, we are asking people to still stay local, don’t drive to visit the coast, if you’re a local then please stay aware of the inherent risks.’

A forecast of warm weather means many people are expected to head to the coast this weekend.

Jacob Davies, RNLI Lifesaving Manager for Scotland said: ‘Just because the lockdown restrictions are being relaxed does not mean our coasts are safe, the dangers that have always been there remain. We ask those who are local to beaches to continue to be aware of the inherent dangers and to avoid taking risks. Our strong advice to the Scottish public, who are not local to a beach, is to exercise locally and not to travel to the coast. Scotland’s air temperature may be warming up but the sea temperature remains consistently chilly all year, jumping or falling into cold water or spending longer periods than normal submerged in the water can lead to, potentially fatal, cold water shock.’

If anyone spots someone in danger in the water, dial 999 and ask for the coastguard.