Despite warnings to stay away from the coast and to not gather in crowds, coastguard crews across the UK dealt with a massive spike in callouts in their busiest weekend of the year.

Thousands of people swarmed to the coast last weekend weekend, but many beaches and beauty spots are currently not lifeguarded, making them more dangerous than usual and creating more work for coastguard crews.

HM Coastguard responded to 447 incidents over that weekend to help people who found themselves in difficulty, making it the busiest weekend of 2020 to date.

Sunday saw a 168 per cent increase on the May 2019 average with 241 incidents, making it the busiest single day of the year so far in terms of incidents at the coast. Saturday was the second busiest day of the year with 206 incidents.

Among the incredibly high number of incidents were the shocking scenes at Durdle Door, after two people were dragged from the water after jumping from the top of the iconic arch.

HM Coastguard Duty Commander Matt Leat said: “Very high numbers of people took to the beaches, coast and sea this weekend which led to a huge increase in the number of incidents.

“Boating, swimming and other sea-based activities are now allowed again across the UK, as is spending time on the beach. However, now more than ever, people need to respect the sea and the coast to ensure the safety of themselves and their families.

“Regardless of how well you know the coast, or how experienced you are in your chosen sport, the sea can still catch you out.

“If you are visiting the beach with your children, have fun but stay safe. Make sure you have sight of your children at all times.

“In addition, the Government guidelines around social distancing should continue to be observed by everyone in the UK.”

If you get into trouble at sea or on the coast call 999 and ask for the Coastguard.

An HM Coastguard spokesperson added: "Coronavirus hasn’t gone away and we all need to follow the rules.

"Remember your choices might put people, including yourself and frontline responders, at risk. Take extra care in these extraordinary times."


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