Lifeguards have begun patrolling some of Scotland’s most popular beaches as the country basks in a heatwave that is expected to last for the rest of the month.
People are expected to flock to the coast to make the most of the current sunny spell as forecasters predict that temperatures will soar to 28C in many places around the country.
Trained lifesavers will be on duty in an effort to help keep the public safe this summers at six Fife beaches – Silver Sands in Aberdour, Burntisland, East Sands and West Sands in St Andrews, Leven and Elie harbour – as well as Coldingham Bay in Berwickshire.
They have already taken up position at the beaches and will be on lookout from 10am to 6pm every day for the whole of the school summer holidays and beyond.
The Scottish lifeguards are part of a 1,500-strong force from the RNLI rescue charity, covering nearly 250 beaches across the UK.
The official bathing season began on 1 June and runs until 15 September.
On average 50 people accidentally drown in Scotland each year – per head of population that is double the rate seen in the UK as a whole.
Giordano Ceccarelli, the lifeguard supervisor for the RNLI, urged beachgoers to be cautious and not take unnecessary risks when at the seaside.
“We’re excited to welcome the public to the RNLI’s lifeguard-patrolled beaches in Scotland,” he said.
“The warmer weather always attracts more people, keen to cool off in the water, and we’re happy to be able to help ensure people’s safety.
“We urge people to stay safe by swimming between the red and yellow flags, and to remember that whilst the air temperature is higher the water does remain very cold throughout the year.
“If you get into trouble remember our advice – to float on your back until cold water shock passes and then call for help.”
Last year RNLI lifeguards attended 207 incidents on Scottish beaches, being called on to provide assistance with a range of problems – from minor first aid to rescuing those in distress in the water.
In 2017, the UK-wide team responded to 15,558 incidents and aided 24,044 people.
Two out of three accidental drownings in the UK happen at inland waters such as rivers and lochs.
In contrast, more than half of accidental drownings in Scotland take place on the coast –mostly at the shore.
Figures reveal that accidental drowning kills more people in Scotland than cycle accidents on the roads.
The costs of supplying the lifeguards are supported by local authorities and beach owners as well as donations to the charity.