WALKERS are being warned to take care when visiting the coast after an increase in calls to help people in danger of being cut off by the tide.

The advice from Hoylake Lifeboat station, follows a number of rescues in recent weeks and as the Government takes steps to ease the COVID-19 lockdown. 

The RNLI says that while volunteer lifeboat crews remain ready to answer emergency calls if needed, people should inform themselves of the local risks and take steps to ensure their own safety near water.

Hoylake hovercraft was recently called to reports of a group of four people and a dog in danger of being cut off by the incoming tide around a mile offshore from Leasowe Lighthouse.

The relief hovercraft 'John Russell' and her volunteer crew launched quickly and headed to the casualties’ reported location.

The group were found to be close inshore near to the rocky groyne known as Barber’s Folly.

The hovercraft crew spoke to the group, advising them of the dangers of the incoming tide and providing them with a safe route ashore around the channels in the area.

Coastguard officers and RNLI volunteers had noticed a further 20 to 30 people across the beach close to the water’s edge.

With the tide still flooding, the RNLI hovercraft headed back out across the beach to ensure those people were not in danger.

Hoylake RNLI volunteer hovercraft commander Matt Pownall-Jones said: "We understand that with the change in Government instructions and recent good weather, many people will want to visit and exercise on our local beaches.

"But we urge everyone to think carefully about whether you need to go to the coast in case you get into difficulty. 

"If you do choose to go to the coast, always check the tide times and local safety notices and know your route back to shore.

"If you or someone else gets into difficulty at the coast, dial 999 and ask for the Coastguard."