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Dangers of Lilos at the Beach

Dangers of Lilos at the Beach

A Norfolk senior coastguard suggests that those who want to take a lilo to the beach this summer should rethink their plans.

After multiple rescues occurred off the Norfolk coast, senior coastguards warned holidaymakers not to use lilos in the sea.

On 22nd July 2021, three young girls were swept out to sea on a lilo.

During the late afternoon, Hunstanton RNLI lifeboat crews set out to commence a rescue effort.

A lifeboat rescued two of the girls, while a nearby paddleboarder rescued the third.

Jen Hill is the Senior Coastal Operations Officer for Norfolk.

She cautioned holidaymakers to only use inflatable lilos in safe areas of water.

Speaking toEastern Daily Press, she said: “Lilos are a big issue. They are bright, colourful and fun, but they are really only meant for a swimming pool, or any water area that is surrounded by a wall. The sea doesn’t have walls and it’s so easy and so quick for a bit of fun to turn into something worse. As soon as they are out of arm’s reach that’s when you’re asking for trouble.”

This incident is not isolated. In July 2020, a similar situation occurred when a couple on a lilo drifted two miles from the coast.

Officials rescued them, but stories like these continue to occur.

Coastguard officials are well aware of the danger of lilos at the beach, but many holidaymakers don’t realise the risks they pose. 

It’s easy for inflatable equipment to be swept out to sea due to the tidal nature of the British coastline.

Currents and wind can all play a part in this.

However, even on a still day, it is inadvisable to use a lilo in the sea.

The dangers of lilos on the beach apply to even the strongest swimmers.

With more people choosing to holiday in Britain this summer, the RNLI is facing increased challenges.

Hill added: “People obviously come to the beach to relax, but they can become complacent, especially this year when we are anticipating one of our busiest summers ever. I think part of the issue is that people are used to travelling to places like the Mediterranean, which is non-tidal, and then they come to Norfolk and have no idea of what a tide actually is. Often they are non-locals, and they don’t understand the phenomenon of a tide. We’ve even had people call the coastguard because the tide has gone out, and they don’t get why.”

The dangers of lilos at the beach cannot be overstated.

If you see a swimmer in difficulty on an inflatable, you should call 999 immediately and ask for the coastguard.

You could save someone’s life.

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