A CAMPAIGN was launched yesterday to ask Scots not to take inflatable toys to the nation’s beaches.

HM Coastguard, the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI), the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) and Trading Standards came together in Edinburgh to ask people to leave their inflatable toys in the pool or at home this summer.

After a spate of call-outs to flamingos, unicorns, puffins and pizza slices in 2018, the organisations are asking the public to be aware of the dangers of inflatables at the coast.

In a statement the quartet said: “Whilst inflatables may look great on an Instagram feed, the four organisations are reminding people that they belong in pools and not in the sea.

“HM Coastguard tasked RNLI lifeboats, particularly Kinghorn and Troon, on a number of occasions last summer to reports of people being blown out to sea or to collect wayward giant flamingos.”

Speaking about the risk of inflatables, Michael Avril, the RNLI’s community safety partner for Scotland, said: “We understand the appeal of inflatables, they are prolific on social media, however, they pose a serious risk to life if used at the coast. In Scotland we often experience strong offshore winds and fast tides which can see somebody dragged far out of their depth in a matter of seconds.

“At this point, people will often panic and abandon their inflatable which leaves them suddenly immersed in very cold water and at a serious risk of drowning. We’d ask the public to please leave the inflatables at home or in a pool this summer, they don’t belong on a beach or in the sea.”

Ross Greenhill of the Coastguard said: “Each year HM Coastguard respond to a number of 999 calls reporting inflatable toys being rapidly blown out to sea, often with young children on them.

“Whilst we want everyone to enjoy our amazing coastline around Scotland, we want you to enjoy it safely. Inflatable toys definitely belong in a swimming pool and not in the sea where they are subject to not just our strong currents but also our ever-changing weather.

“Leave the inflatables for the pool and enjoy your time on the beach.”