TWO stranded swimmers were rescued by Wirral Coastguard today.

Emergency crews received a 999 call reporting that the swimmers had got into difficulty shortly after midday and were stuck on a groyne near Fort Perch Rock at New Brighton.

New Brighton Lifeboat quickly recovered the pair who were suffering from the effects of cold.

An ambulance was requested as a precaution and paramedics gave the swimmers a health check.

Michael Buratti, station officer for Wirral Coastguard Rescue Team said: “The water around our coastline can look very inviting and open water swimming is extremely popular.

"However if you are going to swim in the sea, you must take precautions and understand that swimming in the sea is very different to swimming in a pool.

"If you are going swimming in the sea, please following our safety advice."

Coastguard crews were called out again this evening after a man was knocked over on New Brighton beach by a dog.

The casualty suffered a twisted knee and had his foot stuck in soft sand.

Coastguard rescue officers received a 999 call from North West Ambulance Service shortly before 7pm.

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Paramedics and Merseyside police officers were already at the scene.

A police officer managed to free the casualty who was able to walk off the beach to a waiting ambulance.

The coastguard rescue team stood down as their help was not required on this occasion.

If you go open water swimming, HM Coastguard offers the following  safety advice: 

If possible, choose a lifeguarded beach and swim between the red and yellow flags. If you can’t, learn more about your chosen location before you go and read local hazard signage.

Check the weather forecast before you set off and assess whether the conditions exceed your ability.

Acclimatise to cold water slowly and enter gradually to reduce the risk of cold water shock. Always swim parallel to the shore and not straight out. Cold water and currents can tire you quickly and make it harder to return to shore.

Always consider using a tow float, and wear a brightly coloured swim hat. This will increase your visibility in the water.

Tell someone else where you’re going and when you’ll be back. They can raise the alarm with the Coastguard by calling 999 if you are overdue.

Try not to swim alone and never swim under the influence of alcohol, medication or drugs.

If you get into trouble - 'float to live' - fight your instinct to thrash around, lean back, extend your arms and legs, and float. Once you're calm, call for help. Swim for safety if you are able.

If you see someone in difficulty on the coast, dial 999 and ask for the Coastguard.