The RNLI is calling on people in the south-west to help support their local volunteer crew as they launch Mayday, the charity’s annual fundraising campaign.
The launch coincides with the Easter break heralding the return of RNLI lifeguards to 19 of the region’s beaches this weekend (Saturday 6 April). RNLI lifeboat volunteers also ready to respond to their pagers should they be needed as people dust off their equipment and take to the water.
Launching on Wednesday 1 May and running for the whole of the month, the RNLI’s Mayday campaign is calling on people to raise money to fund the crucial kit volunteer crews rely on, like lifejackets, helmets and the RNLI’s iconic yellow wellies.
Tom Mansell, RNLI Area Lifesaving Manager, says: ‘RNLI volunteer crew drop everything to save those in trouble at sea when the pagers go off. The kit we provide gives them confidence in all weathers and sea conditions and is vital to make sure our volunteers return home safely to their families from every launch. That’s why we’re running our own call for help throughout May, and asking people to do their bit to fund our lifesaving kit.
In 2018, RNLI crews in the south-west launched 1,325 times and rescued 1,650 people, these rescues simply wouldn’t happen without the kit our volunteers wear so please do support us however you can to help us to continue saving lives.’
Easter is traditionally a busier time for the RNLI across the region, as people begin to think about getting back on or in the water after the long winter months. RNLI lifeguard patrols begin on 19 beaches in Devon and Cornwall* running daily from 10 am to 6 pm for the full two-week school holidays (6-22 April).
The charity urges people to think about their safety before heading out to sea or to the beach. Take heed of the lifeguards’ advice, especially as the beaches may have altered during the winter storms. Check the weather and tide conditions and make sure your equipment is all in working order. Carry a means of calling for help should something go wrong; know your capabilities and make sure you wear the necessary safety equipment.
If you see someone in trouble, alert the lifeguards or call 999 (or 112) and ask for the Coastguard. Do not enter the water yourself. A variety of safety advice for different water activities is available at www.rnli.org.uk
Tom adds: ‘The return of the lifeguards across the region’s beaches is a welcome sight as the weather improves and we edge closer towards summer. Before heading out on the water or to the beach we urge people to take a moment to think of their safety and make sure they’re fully prepared should something go wrong.’
Anyone who wants to get involved in any Mayday activity throughout May should visit RNLI.org/Mayday to register for a free fundraising pack. The pack provides a host of fundraising ideas, such as encouraging friends and colleagues to plan a wear-yellow fundraiser or cooking up some yellow-themed bakes to sell.
For those wanting to combine fundraising with keeping fit, supporters in the south-west can sign up for a Mayday swim challenge. Swimmers of any age and ability can choose to swim the distance of their favourite piece of coastline or waterway at their local pool. Swimmers can simply covert their distance into the number of lengths and go at a time and pace to suit them. To register or for more information visit www.RNLI.org/maydayswim