New Fylde beach signs aim to ensure safety

It’s a measure by Fylde Council designed to do everything possible to prevent a repeat of the drowning of teenage brothers Muhammad and Ali Shabbir off St Annes last summer, and has been warmly welcomed by sea rescue organisations and Fylde’s MP.

It is understood the plan to improve and customise the Fylde signage was in place before the tragedy involving the brothers, who were visiting the resort from West Yorkshire with family, but Coun Michael Sayward says that the incident was the starkest reminder of just how vital it is to do everything possible to ensure beach safety.

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Drowning deaths of two teenage brothers off St Annes coast were tragic accidents…

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One of the new signs on St Annes Promenade

He said: “We want people to enjoy the coast but urge everyone to respect the water, think about their own safety and know what to do in an emergency.”

The RNLI, which has bases at St Annes and Lytham says effective, consistent signs and safety flags on beaches are becoming increasingly relevant as the demands on UK beach operators increase.

The life-saving charity says growing recreational activities and visitor numbers are making the need for effective beach management an even greater priority, and beach operators have a duty of care to see that visitors to the sands are reasonably safe.

Andy Coyle, community safety officer for Lytham St Annes RNLI said: “The Lytham St Annes Lifeboat Station welcomes the new signage and thanks Fylde Council for their co-operation in this essential life-saving work.”

Paul Little, Lytham Coastguard’s station officer, said: “Along the stretch from Starr Gate to the east end of Lytham, there are very different conditions and dangers, although it is a generally safe area.

“There’s the beach and open sea through St Annes to Fairhaven then the mud risk along the Ribble Estuary at the Lytham end. The more, clearer information there is for people, the better.

“Everyone also has to remember they have responsibility for their own safety and that of others in their company, but detailing the necessary information in the clearest way is important and these signs are a key aid in doing all possible to ensure safety.”

The signs, the cost of which the council declined to reveal, are also aimed at reducing dog fouling and nuisance, barbecues and litter, and to improve knowledge and access to local amenities and services.

Fylde MP Mark Menzies said: “I am pleased to see the new signage for visitors and residents.

“While these signs play an important safety role, I am also still pressing ministers and the Maritime and Coastguard Agency to ensure our Coastguard officers have more equipment, which is currently being reviewed.”

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Blackpool Gazette