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Last Updated: Tuesday August 01 2006 17:52 GMT

Kids helped to stay safe in sea

Girls on an inflatable

Two groups have launched campaigns to help kids stay safe in the sea over the scorching summer holidays.

One of the biggest dangers on the beach is when children go out in inflatables, like dinghies, lilos and rubber rings, and they can get swept out to sea.

Tragically, at least 20 children died in accidents on the sea in 2005.

The experts say the best advice is to always take someone with you on a dinghy and to learn the safety rules so you know what to do if you get stuck.

The top tips are:

    If you are in trouble in the sea, stick your hands in the air and shout for helpIf you see someone else in trouble, tell a lifeguard or call 999 for a coastguardLearn the safety rules and what flags meanWatch the weather reportsAlways go with a friend

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) and the Maritime and Coastguard Agency have both thought up ways to help keep you safe this summer.

The RNLI has launched a campaign called Shore Thing, which gives kids and parents safety tips.

Beachwise

Their research showed that lots of children didn't know as much as they thought about sea safety. A third of kids asked said they thought sharks were just as dangerous as using an inflatable in the sea in the UK.

Whereas the RNLI rescued 151 children on inflatables last year, but there were no rescues involving sharks.

A lifeboat

"We know there are a lot of streetwise people out there - but are they beachwise? We want families to have a happy and a safe holiday," an RNLI spokesperson said.

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency's campaign is called Sea Smart. It wants kids to remember to wear lifejackets, check the weather and take care when using inflatables in the sea.

Enjoy

Their spokesperson said: "The dangers of using inflatables in the sea cannot be over-emphasised.

"If the tide is going out and there is an offshore breeze you can very quickly be swept out to sea.

"We want people to enjoy themselves but we also want them to be able to return home at the end of the day."

For more information and safety tips from these campaigns, click on the web links on the right of this page.