ADVICE on how to stay safe this summer while enjoying watersports has been issued by firefighters.

More and more people have taken up things like swimming, kayaking and paddleboarding during lockdown with British Canoeing noticing a 23 per cent spike in participation in the last year.

Nick Singleton, operational and community risk manager for north Essex and on-call firefighter in Frinton is one of the Essex County Fire and Rescue Service’s stand-up paddle boarding enthusiasts.

He said:“Stand-up paddleboarding and other water sports are a great way to enjoy the great outdoors while keeping your distance from others.

“While we want people to enjoy these activities, water safety should be on your mind at all times.

“Make sure you assess the conditions before heading into the water, if it’s choppy, there’s a good chance you’ll fall in the water at some point.

“I’d advise wearing a life vest or buoyancy aid and if you fall in, try not to panic as the cold water shock sets in.

“Try to relax and float on your back while you catch your breath and if you can, grab hold of something to help you float.

“Stay calm, call for help and swim to safety if you can.

“Look out for each other while in the water and never leave children unattended.”