Call for improved signage before the summer season

Seahouses  mersey class  lifeboat Grace Darling 12-16. Lifeboat heading towards the camera, two crew at the upper steering position, huge wave breaking over the sea wall behind.

Seahouses mersey class lifeboat Grace Darling 12-16. Lifeboat heading towards the camera, two crew at the upper steering position, huge wave breaking over the sea wall behind.

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New signage to warn of dangerous rip currents at a Northumberland coastal spot which nearly resulted in a number of deaths need to be installed as soon as possible, it has been claimed.

It follows recently-released RNLI figures which showed that heroic Seahouses crews saved the lives of seven people last year, as part of more than 1,000 lifeboat launches from stations across the North East in 2014.

The life-saving deeds occurred off the Northumberland coast in the summer when the village’s crew were scrambled to two similar incidents in less than a week.

Two children and a pair of adults were rescued from the water, off the beach between Seahouses and Beadnell, near Annstead Farm, on August 24, just days after the crew saved a group of young bodyboarders from the same spot.

They were caught by a rip current and carried into deeper, colder, choppier waters.

Seahouses RNLI’s lifeboat operations manager Ian Clayton said it was essential for signage to be erected at the spot as quickly as possible, to avoid similar, potentially life-threatening incidents in the future.

He said: “If we hadn’t been there, these people would have lost their lives. It was fortunate that we were able to respond very quickly to both call-outs, the first of which was more serious; one young girl would have drowned if we had arrived a few minutes later. There hadn’t been any problems here before, but these things can happen and quite powerful rip currents can be created, catching people unaware. We want signage to warn people about the rip currents on this piece of coastline and talks are ongoing.

“The Farnes area was busy last year and there may be even more visitors this year. It is important that we get the signage to try to prevent incidents like this in the future.”

The RNLI figures show that crews from the region’s 33 stations rescued 930 people during 1,025 rescue launches.

In north Northumberland, crews from Seahouses, Amble, Craster and Berwick launched 59 times, rescuing 49 people.

The boats at Seahouses were launched 22 times, rescuing 16 people and saving seven lives. Amble’s vessels were launched 18 times, rescuing 17, Berwick’s launched 12 times, rescuing nine and Craster launched seven times, rescuing seven people.