UK Coastguard has issued a plea for parents to keep a close eye on their children at the beach this coming weekend after responding to 94 missing children reports over the May Bank Holiday weekend (5-7 May) across the UK coast.
The largest concentrations of missing children occurred at Wittering in West Sussex (13) and Formby Beach in Merseyside (13).
All children were found safely, but with so many reports coming in during the day, many UK Coastguards Rescue Teams have increased their regular patrols and stayed near the beaches in case of further emergencies.
David Jones, Duty Controller for UK Coastguard said: ‘Due to the recent hot weather we have been experiencing, our HM Coastguard Operations Centres were inundated with 999 calls reporting missing children at beaches all across the UK. Several reports were also made where people had found children who’d lost their parents.
‘It’s always a huge worry when children go missing near the beach – not just for the parents but for our Coastguards as well. There’s always a possibility that children may get into difficulties even in shallow water or injure themselves on slippery rocks. Thankfully last weekend’s missing children had just wandered off and were located safe and well by the Coastguard teams, lifeguards or their parents. However, significant resources were used pursuing these types of reports.
‘We are urging parents and guardians to keep a close eye on their children at the beach and know where they are at all times. If you can, head for a life guarded beach and agree a recognisable meeting point that’s easy to find. Show your children the nearest lifeguard station or a recognisable location and tell them to head there if they get lost. Make sure you tell the Coastguard or a lifeguard immediately if you lose sight of your child. Busy beaches can disorientate people, especially children, so take advantage of local wristband schemes wherever possible.’