COASTGUARDS in Clacton have called on people to take heed of warnings to help prevent drownings.

Coastguard Danny Ayling issued warnings to people taking to the water as part of the Royal Life Saving Society’s Drowning Prevention Week.

About 700 people drown in the UK and Ireland every year and hundreds more have near-drowning experiences.

Mr Ayling said: “Clacton Coastguard would like to encourage everyone to enjoy our British coastline safely.

“So, make sure that you check weather and tides before you set out, wear appropriate clothing and footwear, be responsible about alcohol consumption and go to a lifeguarded beach.

“Stay within the flagged area and listen to the advice of lifeguards.

“If you plan to swim or use your bodyboard make sure it’s on a lifeguarded beach and stay within your depth.

“Remember to swim parallel to the shore.

“If you find yourself unexpectedly in the water, float to increase your chances of survival.

“If you get caught in a strong current or rip current try to stay as calm as you can, raise your hand and shout for help.”

“If you can’t get help, try and swim parallel to the beach until you’re out of trouble then swim to the shore.”