The Coastguard has issued a plea for people to take care at the coast following nine deaths in the past 10 days.

The warning has been issued as schools break up for summer and ahead of World Drowning Prevention Day on Sunday (July 25) which has been organised by the United Nations to highlight the issue.

A Coastguard spokeswoman said: “Coastguards across the UK have issued a stark warning to take care at the coast or risk tragic consequences.

Summer weather July 20th 2021
People enjoying the hot weather at Bournemouth Beach in Dorset (Andrew Matthews/PA)

“The warning comes as many are expected to travel to the coast for beach holidays and days out in the UK across the remaining summer months.

“In the past 10 days, HM Coastguard recorded that nine people have sadly died while visiting the beach or coast.

“Each death represents a widescale tragedy for the families and friends of those who have died. Others have faced life-changing injuries.”

Claire Hughes, director of HM Coastguard, said: “We can’t emphasise this enough – the sea has no respect for whether you’re local or not and whether you’re experienced or not.

“Please always check weather conditions and tide times before going out. The Coastguard will always respond to 999 and do all we can to get people home and safe.

“But be careful. Think twice about what you’re doing at the coast that might put you, your family and friends and even those who come to rescue you in danger. Watch out for each other and those you love. Get home safe.

“We’ve seen too many tragedies already this summer and we’re sad for those whose families have been left heartbroken by the loss.”

The Coastguard is advising visitors to the beach to check tide times and to be aware of sea currents, hidden depths and rip currents.

The rescue service also recommends that inflatables should not be used and for people to ensure they have fully-charged phones with 999 being the emergency contact number for the Coastguard.