THE public are being urged to take extra care as gusts of 66mph are predicted across Wales.

The RNLI and HM Coastguard are urging people to visit lifeguarded beaches and take extra care over the coming days as forecasts predict dangerous sea conditions, involving large swells, strong winds and spring tides.

This follows a warning from the Met Office that Storm Ellen is currently bringing some unseasonably windy weather across the west with Wales having seen the strongest winds so far.

Across exposed coastal areas in Wales, current forecasts for Friday and Saturday are predicting high waves coupled with strong south westerly winds. These conditions, alongside large spring tides, can result in a dangerous sea state and increase the risk of strong rip currents.

People are being reminded that if a red flag is at a lifeguarded beach, do not enter the water.

If there are no flags, there are no lifeguards.

Spring tides and surging waves mean people could very easily get cut off by the incoming tide. Anyone heading to the coast is reminded of the importance of checking the tide times and ensuring they have enough time to return if they decide to venture further along the beach.

Chris Cousens, RNLI Water Safety Lead for Wales is advising those who will be near the coast to take extra care.

He said: "When we experience conditions such as this, especially during the summer when the region is busy with visitors, it is incredibly important that those heading to the coast keep themselves safe by choosing a lifeguarded beach where possible and visiting within the patrol hours of 10am-6pm.

"RNLI lifeguards are there to offer advice so if you are unsure about anything, make sure you ask a lifeguard. They will be able to provide information on tide times and guide you to the safest area to swim which will be between the red and yellow flags. Anyone surfing should know their limits and always stay within the black and white flagged area."

Whether you are at a lifeguarded beach or not, always:

  • Have a plan - check the weather forecast, tide times and read local hazard signage
  • Keep a close eye on your family – on the beach and in the water
  • Don’t allow your family to swim alone
  • Don’t use inflatables

If you fall into the water unexpectedly, float to live. Fight your instinct to thrash around, lean back, extend your arms and legs, and Float

In an emergency dial 999, and ask for the Coastguard.

Claire Hughes, director of HM Coastguard, said: "We’ve seen so many times how easy it is to get caught out by the sea.

"Make sure you are always contactable at the coast by carrying a fully-charged mobile phone and if you get into trouble or see someone else in trouble, call 999 and ask for the Coastguard."