The Coast Guard and RNLI have issued a joint safety message for those taking part in water-based or coastal activities over the Christmas and New Year period.

Both groups are warning that swimming in open water is very different to swimming in a pool due to unseen currents, cold water and waves.

People are advised not to swim alone, and try and take part in an organised swim, consider wearing a wetsuit for long swims, always swim parallel to the shore and not to mix water sports and alcohol.

Coastal walkers are advised to avoid any unfamiliar routes and be mindful of changes caused by coastal erosion, as well as the risk of trips and falls.

Those taking to the water in leisure boats and small fishing boats should carry a mobile phone or personal locator beacon, and always wear a life jacket, as well as checking the weather forecast.

The RNLI and Coast guard will be available to respond over the festive season.

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