COASTGUARDS from Seaham and Hartlepool have warned members of the public about tackling rip tides after coming to the rescue of 'lucky' open water swimmers that found themselves in difficulty earlier this week.

The rescue service, who patrol the North East shoreline, were called out to Seaton Carew yesterday (December 29) at 8am after reports of people in difficulty in the water. 

After arriving on the scene, several open water swimmers, who had got themselves into trouble in the sea, had managed to make it back to dry land, but had to be checked over by Coastguard Rescue Officers before making their way home.

Read more: Hartlepool coastguard look for man who may have entered the water 

Following the incident at Seaton Crew, the Seaham Coastguard has issued a warning to others who wish to swim in rough conditions - describing the sea as "unforgiving" during this time of year.

A spokesperson for the local Coastguard said: "One swimmer described being pulled out by a rip tide.

"Please be aware that the rip tides along the North East coastline change with the movement of sandbanks.

Read more: RNLI and UK Coastguard help man with injuries at Redcar beach

"To escape a rip, swim laterally out of the rip before trying to swim to the shore.

"Open water swimming is a fantastic hobby. To enjoy it safely, please make sure to use floats, to swim as a group and to have a marine radio on hand in case there's an emergency. Channel 16 is the international distress channel.

"In all emergencies, dial 999 and ask for the Coastguard."

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