Coastguards warn against giant inflatables after 15 people rescued in one day

The country’s beaches are jam packed thanks to the current heatwave but coastguards are pleading with sun-seekers not to use giant inflatables after 15 people were injured in one day.

Coastguards have warned swimmers against the use of the novelty floats after an increasing number were washed out by the tide.

It comes after 15 people straddling giant unicorns and pink flamingos had to be rescued from along the south coast on Monday.

In total, officials received 18 calls about people in trouble on the blow-up devices.

The current heatwave, which has seen daytime temperatures hovering around 30C, has seen beaches packed and people staying in the sea longer.

Coastguards are advising the public that inflatable toys are not designed for coastal waters where they are quickly swept out to sea by winds and currents.

One swimmer lounging on an inflatable unicorn got into trouble at Hayling Island in Portsmouth, Hants, meaning the Hayling Coastguard Rescue Team and RNLI lifeboats had to be launched.

HM Coastguard search and rescue helicopter from Lee-on-Solent was also scrambled to look for the embarrassed day-tripper.

Another man with an inflatable dinghy in the same area was also reported to be in difficulties, as were other people on a large, pink blow-up flamingo.

In a tweet the Maritime and Coastguard agency urged people to leave inflatables at home, saying they should not be used in the sea.

They posted: “More than 15 people have had to be rescued this evening along the south coast. Common denominator? They were all using inflatables. Please leave them at home – they’re NOT for the sea. #999.”

HM Coastguard duty controller Piers Stanbury said: “We’ve had people rescued from a number of beaches along Hampshire and Sussex coastline.

“Each one of them had been using an inflatable. Thankfully, everyone so far has been rescued and is safe.

“We’ve had to waste RNLI and Coastguard volunteers’ time to ensure that abandoned inflatables did not have anyone at risk associated with them.

“We can’t stress enough that these inflatables are not suitable for use in the sea.

“Tide conditions, the wind, any changes in the weather can just take them out beyond safe depths. Please, don’t use them, don’t take them to the seaside.

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“Inflatables really should only be used in swimming pools, not at the coast where they can quickly go from being fun to being potentially deadly.”

People are urged to dial 999 if they see anyone in difficulty out at sea.

In May, a young girl and her father were rescued after she was blown out to sea on an inflatable unicorn in Ayrshire, Scotland.

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