A WARNING has been issued to anyone wanting to enjoy the sun and the seaside this summer after fresh figures revealed 17 people died along the Welsh coast last year.
The RNLI Coastguard and have both issued warnings to the public after more than 2,500 incidents were reported across the UK between June 21 and July 21 this year.
Nicola Davies, the RNLI’s Coastal Safety Manager in Wales, said: “Of course we want people to go to the coast and enjoy it – we’re lucky to have an exceptional coastline around Wales – but we want people to understand there are risks, and that they should not underestimate the power of the sea.
“Our key advice is to choose a lifeguarded beach and swim between the red and yellow flags, where you’ll have professional lifeguards looking out for you.
“If you want a few drinks in the sun on the beach, remember that alcohol and water don’t mix, so drink after swimming, not before.
“To avoid falls, stay away from cliff edges, stick to pathways and read safety signs.”
In the last month, the Coastguard has had to deal with everything from struggling swimmers and cliff fallers to broken-down boats and kayakers.
Chief Coastguard Richard Martin said: “During this recent spell of good weather, we’ve seen a lot of people head to the beautiful UK coastline to enjoy the sunshine.
“The key thing to remember first of all is that if you see someone in difficulty, or you get into trouble yourself, call 999 immediately and ask for the Coastguard.
“If you are heading out for a swim, remember that even though the sea may look calm on the surface, there is the danger of strong currents underneath.
“We recommend that you swim at a lifeguarded beach, take note of any warning signs and best to tell someone on the beach what you are doing so they can keep an eye on you.
"The key thing to remember is to have a great time but call us if you need us.
“You know our number: 999 and ask for the Coastguard.”