The RNLI has warned people on the coast around Aberdeen to take extra care if they are planning to have fun in the sea over the Easter long weekend.
With the end of the Scottish Government’s ‘stay at home’ guidance – and the introduction of ‘stay local’ advice – set to coincide with the Good Friday bank holiday, the lifeboat is anticipating an increase in the number of call-outs.
During the warm weather last summer, the RNLI in Scotland saw a 300% increase in calls for people struggling with paddleboards and helped out 171% more kayakers than the year before.
Now they are warning that the waters do not become any safer because restrictions have been eased, and they are still dangerously cold at this time of year.
‘We cannot be everywhere at once’
Cal Reed, the coxswain at Aberdeen Lifeboat Station, 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 have remained on call throughout the pandemic but, in order to attend a shout, we must break physical distancing instructions, putting ourselves and our families at risk.
“We cannot be everywhere at once, if we see a sudden increase in people visiting Aberdeen Beach, Greyhope Bay and Cove Bay or our local rivers, our volunteer run service could struggle to meet demand.
“Therefore, we are asking people to stay aware of the inherent risks.”
‘Avoid taking risks’
Jill Hepburn, the RNLI Lifesaving Manager for Scotland, said: “The change in restrictions we will see from Friday 2 April allows for greater travel in your local authority areas.
“With that, we expect many people to be eager to hit the coast.
“However, 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.”