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Last Updated: Tuesday, 25 July 2006, 07:32 GMT 08:32 UK
Beach peril 'greater than sharks'
Children displaying Safe message
The T-shirts spell out the Safe message on the front...
A beach safety campaign is aiming to teach children tides and currents are far more dangerous than sharks.

The RNLI's Beachwise scheme, to be launched by the lifeboat charity in Port Talbot, found itself rescuing 18 children a day in the UK last August.

Research found children thought sharks were as much of a threat to them in the UK as using inflatables in the sea.

The campaign begins a day after a six-year-old boy died at a beach in Barmouth, Gwynedd.

It combines an interactive website for children and parents with information given out at the coast and is being launched in Wales at the RNLI lifeboat station in Port Talbot on Tuesday.

It is based around an easy-to-remember message using the letters of the word safe as a memory aid.

The Safe campaign
S - Spot the danger
A - Always go with a friend
F - Find and read safety signs and flags
E - Emergency? Stick your hand in the air and shout, tell a lifeguard or dial 999 for the Coastguard

One million leaflets will be distributed to tourist sites including information centres, beach shops, sea life centres and attractions like Pontins.

An interactive website called Shorething offering games, activities and video to educate children about seaside safety and the RNLI's work is up and running.

The three main causes of children being rescued at the beach are using inflatables, getting dragged out to sea by rip currents, and tides cutting them off or leaving them stranded in rising water.

Safety messages on T-shirts
...and explain what it stands for on the back

Nicola Davies, the RNLI's sea safety manager, said there were two reasons the campaign had been devised.

"The first is that last August RNLI volunteer crews had to rescue 18 children a day.

"Secondly, we looked at the reasons why this was happening - 33% of children believe the danger at the beach to be sharks, so their perception of the dangers wasn't as good as we thought.

"The website is to educate children about safety down at the beaches and to educate parents. No matter what age you are, you can go on there and learn something."

"We're hoping that with educating people, our lifeboats won't have to go out as much, and that will decrease the costs for us."


SEE ALSO
Young boy dies after sea accident
24 Jul 06 |  North West Wales
Nine rescued from town sandbank
18 Jul 06 |  North East Wales

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