HM Coastguard Fleetwood has issued a warning to anyone planning to visit Lancashire’s coast after facing one of their busiest summers on record.

In July and August, the coastguards were called out to more than 100 incidents, including missing persons, people being cut off by the tide and mud rescues to name a few.

Mark Sumner, coastguard and station officer for the Fleetwood team, said they have “already had their busiest year on record – and it’s only October."

He added that the summer months alone were 30 to 35 per cent busier than average.

Mark puts this down to the pandemic and said more people have been travelling to the coast, as they are unable to go abroad.

He explained: “The biggest thing that’s changed this year is that people are staying home for their holidays.

“Of course Blackpool is a huge attraction and there have been more visitors to our coast.”

However, he added that some people might have underestimated just how powerful the waves are on the Lancashire coastline.

Mark said: “People who are used to going abroad, like Spain or Greece where the tide hardly moves, are coming to the beaches in the UK and finding that we have some very fast and powerful tides.

“In the Mediterranean the tide rises by about a meter… in Fleetwood there is about 10 times more tide movement and people just don’t know it and they’re getting caught out.”

Mark explained that the team have been called out to “just about everything you can imagine” from despondent persons through to body recoveries.

In May, the coastguard were called out to a person who got stuck in the mud in Lytham.

Just last month, they were called out to reports of a person in the water near Central Pier Blackpool; they were in a “very dangerous position, clinging onto the iron works”.

The team also launched Operation Nemo over the summer, a scheme made with the intention of preventing missing children cases on Blackpool and St Annes beaches.

Interestingly, the coastguards have also been called out to investigate royal fish, which are protected and become personal property of the monarch, if they wash up.

Mark said: “We have to investigate dead porposies, or other royal fish, to decide whether it needs to be disposed of by the council or sent to the museum for a post-mortem.”

As we leave summer behind and head into the colder months, Mark has a warning for anyone planning to visit the coast.

He said: “As we move into the winter, people need to be aware of the extra power that mother nature has in terms of strong winds and rough seas.

“In the warmer months, the issue is people being on the beach and cut off by the tide.

“Now, people need to be aware of going on walks too close to the sea, wave dodging, or trying to get that perfect picture and getting a bit too close to the sea front.

“Don’t get too close – that picture isn’t worth losing your life over.”

He added: “If you are in difficulty or doubt just dial 999 for coastguard. If there is nothing to it then there’s no shame – but if there is the call may have just saved your life.”

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