Don’t fight it, float: 10 water safety tips to remember at the beach this summer


Sophy Grimshaw

As we hit the UK’s beaches in greater numbers for summer, more of us are getting into trouble at the coast. Learn how to look after yourself in the water with these top tips

Float to live
Can you float on your back in a starfish shape, chin back, chest pushed skywards? Almost everyone can. “Float to live” reduces the accelerated heart rate and panicked breathing we suffer when we find ourselves in difficulty in water, including the effects of cold water shock. Thrashing around and taking in water is a recipe for disaster, whereas floating on your back buys you vital time in which to decide whether to signal for help or try to swim ashore, says the Royal National Lifeboat Institution’s (RNLI) head of water safety, Gareth Morrison. He mentions the story of a 10-year-old boy rescued by the charity’s Scarborough Lifeboat in 2020 – he had been swept out to sea, but knew about float to live. “He floated for nearly an hour before rescuers reached him, which saved his life.”

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