RNLI safety appeal: RNLI issue safety plea following spate of tragic drownings last weekend in Scottish waters

Following a spate of tragic drownings in Scotland last weekend, the RNLI has issued a plea to the Scottish public to heed its water safety advice.

Temperatures across Scotland have been soaring over the last couple of weeks and, despite cloud cover, have continued to stay high making the country’s beaches and waterways all the more appealing.

However, the RNLI is determined to reach as many people as possible with safety advice to prevent any more devastating deaths occurring.

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Last weekend, four people – including two children – died on Loch Lomond and were among six fatalities on Scottish waters over the two day period.

Water Safety Lead for the RNLI in Scotland Michael Avril said: “Hot temperatures make taking a dip at the coast, in a river or loch all the more tempting but we’re desperate for people to realise the dangers that lurk beneath the surface.

"Even with air temperatures rising, the water around Scotland’s coast and in our inland waterways rarely gets far above 10C.

"When we’re suddenly submerged in water below 15C, our body experiences ‘cold water shock’, this causes you to gasp for air, thrash around and immediately puts you at risk of sinking below the water.

"The dangers of cold water shock are very real and we really need the Scottish public to be aware”.

RNLI issue safety plea following spate of tragic drownings last weekend on Scottish waters. (Picture credit: Nick Mailer/ RNLI)
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Advice from the RNLI on things you can do to remain safe in or around water include fighting your instinct to thrash around and instead extending your arms and legs and leaning back in the water while keeping your chin up and airway open.

You should breathe and hold this position for 60 to 90 seconds, your body will adjust to the water temperature and your breathing will return to normal. Once this has happened you will be able to calmly assess the situation to try to find your way out of the water or call for help.

Mr Avril also added: “If you are going to the coast or to any body of water we always encourage people to follow our basic safety advice: if possible go to a lifeguarded beach

RNLI issue safety plea following spate of tragic drownings last weekend on Scottish waters. (Picture credit: Nick Mailer/ RNLI)
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“Understand the local tide times, understand the risk of being cut off at any point by the tide

“Never use inflatables at the coast or in a body of water that is not a swimming pool, you can quickly be swept out to sea or out of your depth

“Don’t take risks.”

He also said that if you are out paddleboarding or kayaking you should take a means of calling for help – such as a phone in a waterproof pouch – and you should always wear a lifejacket.

Finally you should always tell someone where you are going and when they can expect you back.

Last Saturday, nine-year-old Ranas Haris Ali, his mother Edina Olahova, 29, and 41-year-old Muhammad Asim Riaz died in Loch Lomond near Pulpit Rock by Ardlui.

Elsewhere, the body of Dean Irvine, 11, was pulled from the water at Alexander Hamilton Memorial Park near Stonehouse, South Lanarkshire, on Saturday afternoon.

The day before, Connor Markward , 16, died after getting into difficulty in Loch Lomond near the pier at Balloch Country Park.

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