Coastguard issues plea after 12 children reported missing at West Wittering
UK Coastguard has issued a plea for parents to keep a close eye on their children at the beach this weekend after responding to 68 separate missing children reports last weekend across the UK Coast.
At least 12 of those reports of missing children were at West Wittering.
All children were found safely, but with so many reports coming in during the day, many UK Coastguards Rescue Teams have increased their regular patrols and stayed near the beaches in case of further emergencies.
Mark Rodaway Duty Commander for UK Coastguard said: “Due to the recent hot weather we have been experiencing, the Coastguard Operations Centres were inundated with 999 calls reporting missing children at beaches all across the UK.
“It’s always a huge worry when children go missing near the beach – not just for the parents but for the UK Coastguard as well.
“There’s always a possibility that children may get into difficulties even in shallow water or injure themselves on slippery rocks.
“Thankfully last weekend’s missing children had just wandered off and were located safe and well by the Coastguard teams, lifeguards or their parents.
“However, significant resources were used pursuing these types of reports.
“We are urging parents and guardians to keep a close eye on their children at the beach and know where they are at all times.
“If you can, head for a life guarded beach – there are over 210 across the UK coast – and agree a recognisable meeting point that’s easy to find.
“Show your children the nearest lifeguard station and tell them to head there if they get lost.
“Make sure you tell a lifeguard immediately if you lose sight of your child.
“Busy beaches can disorientate people, especially children, so take advantage of local wristband schemes wherever possible.”
In time for the busy summer period ahead, HM Coastguard have launched a new coastal safety website which gives beach goers top tips on how to stay safe on the coast and links to life guarded beaches.
Visit www.gov.uk/coastguardsafety for safety information.