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5 November 2013, 06:47
Bait and tackle shops, including one in Dorset, will be used to pass information to sea anglers so they can stay safe when enjoying their sport, as part of a pilot scheme.
Last year 11 sea anglers lost their lives while fishing in the UK, according to the National Water Safety Forum, and the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) responded to more than 1,200 incidents involving anglers.
Now the RNLI is working with bait and tackle shops to pilot a retail ambassador scheme, in which the charity helps the shops to give safety advice to customers.
Posters advertising the scheme read:
"Don't put your life on the line".
Chris Adams, RNLI coastal safety manager, said:
"The fine line between rescue and tragedy only goes to highlight the importance of raising awareness of the risks involved in the sport. Our new scheme helps shops take a lead role in protecting anglers by providing relevant local safety advice and information to their angling communities.
"It is not about preventing people fishing from rocks or exposed shorelines, but helping them take the right steps to enjoy their sport safely. We're asking people to reduce their chances of getting into trouble by preparing for the possibility that they might - that way we hope anglers will be ready in case the worst happens."
The scheme will initially run from five shops across the UK. They are Anglers Corner at Milford Haven in South Wales; Tavernor's Boat Yard in Preston; Geoff's Bait and Tackle in Rhyl, North Wales; Wessex Gun and Tackle in Poole, Dorset and Glasgow Angling Centre.
The scheme encourages anglers to wear a lifejacket if fishing from a boat or on an exposed or rocky shoreline.
It also suggests people carry a means of calling for help, check the weather and tides before heading out, and to let someone know when they are due back.
It also covers what to do if the worst happens and they end up in the water; how to call for help and what to do between falling in the water and the lifeboat arriving.
For those fishing from a boat, the RNLI suggest anglers carry spare fuel and make sure the engine is regularly checked.