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December 20, 2005
Burnham-On-Sea RNLI issues Christmas warning to local coastline users

Burnham-On-Sea RNLI has warned anyone planning to walk along our coastline or use the sea over the Christmas period to be on their guard and stay safe.

The warning comes as RNLI crew volunteers across the south west can expect to be called out, away from family celebrations, to save the lives of seafarers in trouble.

Martin Cox, Burnham-On-Sea RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager, said: "It is easy to be lulled into a false sense of security during the Christmas holiday period. Make sure you are properly prepared and safe."

RNLI lifeboat launches in the south division over the Christmas holiday period (24 December - 3 January) have doubled since 1980. Now, the RNLI is urging people to take care and prepare if on, or by, the sea this festive season.

The charity's volunteer lifeboat crews in the south west have been involved in a total of 94 Christmas search and rescues during the first five years of this decade, and have rescued 87 people. Between 1980 and 1985, the crews launched 47 times and rescued 36 people during the festive season.

The RNLI expects 500 of its volunteer lifeboat men and women around the UK and Ireland will be called out during the Christmas holiday period to help save those in trouble at sea. This is why the lifesaving charity is asking people who plan to go for a seaside or cliff top walk, or a sail, surf or swim, to take care and make sure they are properly prepared.

Simon Pryce, RNLI Divisional Inspector, said: "Lives will be saved over the holiday period thanks to the continuing dedication of our volunteer crews and station shore helpers, who are all ready to respond when a call comes for help. Statistics prove rescues over the festive period are increasing and this means some RNLI volunteers in the south west will no doubt have to abandon Christmas and New Year festivities
at some stage, to help people in trouble. They will do this without complaining or wishing for attention."

"With call outs having risen by 200% in the south since 1980 I would appeal to the public to think carefully about seaside or water based activities. Please be properly prepared in terms of clothing and equipment, and never mix alcohol with sea activities."

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