People have been warned against driving to Fife’s beaches as lockdown restrictions are eased.
Lifeboat crews fear they could be put at risk and overwhelmed if there is an influx of visitors to the kingdom’s coastal hotspots.
With sunshine forecast to continue into the weekend there are concerns people will be tempted to travel to beaches including those at St Andrews, the East Neuk, Leven, Burntisland and Aberdour.
Kinghorn Lifeboat also worries a surge in visitors to either Fife or Edinburgh and Lothian coastlines could endanger its volunteers and their families and has urged people to stay local.
Station helm Neil Chalmers said: “We understand that many people will have been missing trips to the coast and will be eager for a change of scene or activity.
“However, we are really asking the public for their help.
“Our team of dedicated volunteers is always there to help, but in order to attend a shout we must break physical distancing instructions, putting ourselves and our families at risk. We also cannot be everywhere at once.
“If we see a sudden increase in people visiting beaches on the Fife, Edinburgh and Lothian coast our volunteer-run service could struggle to meet demand.
“Therefore, we are asking people to still stay local, don’t drive to visit the coast. If you’re a local then please stay aware of the inherent risks.”
His message was issued as the RNLI issued a Scotland-wide safety warning in response to the government’s plan to permit people to travel short distances for exercise, including outdoor swimming, kayaking and angling.
Jacob Davies, lifesaving manager for Scotland, said: “Our strong advice to the Scottish public, who are not local to a beach, is to exercise locally and not to travel to the coast.
“Scotland’s air temperature may be warming up but the sea temperature remains consistently chilly all year. Jumping or falling into cold water or spending longer periods than normal submerged in the water can lead to, potentially fatal, cold water shock.”
Michael Avril, the charity’s water safety lead in Scotland, said: “The Scottish public needs to remember the following safety advice: stay in familiar surroundings, follow Scottish Government advice of remaining within five miles of your home, don’t put yourself, your family and emergency services at risk by taking risks or assuming it ‘won’t happen to you’.
“If you do see someone at risk call 999 and ask for the Coastguard.”
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