THE Royal National Lifeboat Institution have launched a new water safety campaign ahead of what the charity believes will be a busy summer for Scottish beaches.

As the summer holidays approach, the RNLI have teamed up with HM Coastguard on a new campaign entitled “Float to Live”, encouraging anyone experiencing difficulties in the water to do the following: lean back, using your arms and legs to stay afloat; control your breathing, and then call for help or swim to safety; and in a coastal emergency, call 999 or 112 for the Coastguard.

In 2021, the eight lifeguarded beaches in Scotland saw 267 191 visitors, with that number expected to increase over the coming months, as well as 314 incidents and nearly 400 people who required aid from the RNLI.

Last year also saw a 10% increase in launches compared to 2020, with an rise in both paddleboarding incidents and swimmer casualties.

Laura Erskine, RNLI Water Safety Education Manager for Scotland, commented: “As the warmer weather appears and the school holidays begin, we expect to see Scotland’s beaches getting busier. It is important to remember how to keep you and your family safe this summer by following the simple advice of Float to Live.

“It’s important to remember that even though the weather is warmer, the water can still be significantly cold, so it is vitally important to take caution and remember to Float to Live if you get into trouble.

“RNLI lifeguarded beaches saw over 261 000 visitors in 2021, and our lifeguards aided nearly 400 people. It’s important that those visiting Scotland’s beaches this summer remember to Float to Live, just following this simple piece of advice can be lifesaving.”

Further safety tips from the Float to Live campaign can be found on the RNLI website.