People in Dorset and the south west come out top in the UK when it comes to who to call in a coastal emergency.

Last year, countless lives were saved because someone knew to call 999 in an emergency at the coast and ask for the Coastguard.

But research by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) shows that in some parts of the UK more than half still don’t know who to call when the worst happens at the seaside or along the cliffs.

A breakdown of the percentage of people who knew to call 999 to reach the Coastguard according to the MCA's 2019 Water Safety Survey results reveals the south west region is clearly leading the pack with 66.27 per cent. The worst was the West Midlands (44.44 per cent).

Peter Mizen, Assistant Director – Head of Coastguard Operations at the MCA, said: “If you’re in difficulty along the coast or at sea, every second will count so it’s really important to know how to get hold of the right emergency service immediately."