RNLI decks Whitby statues out in lifejackets to encourage safety at sea

If you’ve found yourself in Whitby recently you might have noticed something different about its statues.

A number of the seaside town’s famous statues along the Whitby Walk with Heritage trail have been decked out in bright yellow lifejackets.

Among the chosen artworks on the trail - created by local sculptor Emma Stothard - were ‘Herring Lassies’ and ‘A Whitby Fisherlass’.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Statues in Seahouses, Bermondsey, Merseyside, Cork, and Margate have also been spotted wearing the eye-catching personal flotation devices.

Helly Hansen and the RNLI lifejacket campaign: Whitby Walk with Heritage Project by Emma Stothard and photographed by Ceri Oakes.

The project is part of a sea safety campaign by The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) and Helly Hanson.

The RNLI is aiming to raise awareness of the importance of wearing a lifejacket after research from Helly Hansen found that just 56% of people in the UK always wear a personal floatation device when on the water.

Seventeen per cent of those surveyed believed it was acceptable not to wear a lifejacket from the age of 13 upwards. Meanwhile, one-fifth of the respondents who reported not wearing a lifejacket said it was because they are able to swim.

Overall, less than half (47.6%) of respondents said people should always wear lifejackets when sailing, no matter their age.

Helly Hansen and the RNLI lifejacket campaign: Whitby Walk with Heritage Project by Emma Stothard and photographed by Ceri Oakes.

Gareth Morrison, Head of Water Safety at the RNLI said the “worrying” survey results “show people are putting their lives at risk”.

“Our advice is simple, always wear a lifejacket when you’re on the water, as accidents can and do happen to anyone, regardless of your experience or ability,” he said.

“Our brave volunteers rescue thousands of people every year, and unfortunately at times witness first-hand the effects that losing someone to drowning has on their loved ones.”

Mr Morrison noted that wearing a lifejacket can increase chances of survival by up to four times when a person is immersed in cold water.

Helly Hansen and the RNLI lifejacket campaign: Whitby Walk with Heritage Project by Emma Stothard and photographed by Ceri Oakes.

“Whatever your activity and whatever level of experience you have, wearing a well-fitted, well-maintained and suitable lifejacket or buoyancy aid could save your life,” he added.