as thousands of people look set to take a festive dip in the sea this Christmas, lifeboat volunteers have issued a safety warning.
Members of the RNLI are urging revellers to respect the water as part of the organisation’s national campaign to raise awareness of key hazards such as cold water shock.
Nick Ayers, RNLI community safety partner, said: “The festive dip is now a firm family favourite in the calendar as many brave swimmers take the plunge year after year with their families and friends over the holidays.
“As the charity that saves lives at sea, we want to remind people that over winter the sea is at its coldest.
“We hope all enjoy the water, but are also aware of what do to if they or their fellow swimmers do get into trouble.
“Before going in, we urge people to remember the risks of cold water shock and what to do if it happens to them. The simple act of floating could save a life.”
Cold water shock is a physiological response, which causes uncontrollable gasping. This increases the risk of swallowing water and puts a strain on the heart – in extreme cases it can cause cardiac arrest.
The RNLI’s national drowning prevention campaign, Respect the Water, aims to raise awareness of key hazards like cold water shock, and lifesaving skills like floating.
Mr Ayers added: ‘There are many local dips taking place at the coast over Christmas.
“I am taking part in the dip myself this year, making sure I’m part of an organised event and that I stay in a group. We encourage those who plan on taking part to join a scheduled event, as they will be in good company with other swimmers, as well as safety staff.”
Bridlington will host its annual Christmas Day dip in memory of founder Warwick Connelly.
Meanwhile, people will take to the sea in Whitby and Scarborough for the annual Boxing Day dip.