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RNLI lifeguards busy on both sides of the Devon coast

Lifeguards News Release

RNLI lifeguards at Westward Ho!, Croyde and Blackpool Sands, have been busy with rescues and assists over the past few days.

Yesterday (Monday 15 August) at Westward Ho! on Devon’s north coast, RNLI lifeguard Alice Hedger spotted two people in difficulty around 1km out to sea after launching an inflatable raft from the rocks.

In strong force five offshore winds, the father and son were quickly swept out to sea and the inflatable began taking on water. As the pair abandoned the inflatable, RNLI lifeguards Paul Stevans and Tegan Ivall sprang into action and went to their aid on rescue boards.

The casualties were struggling to make any progress back to the beach. Paul rescued the male from the water while Tegan rescued his teenage son. Once back to safety, Alice and RNLI Lifeguard Supervisor, Vaughn Lawson, checked the casualties over and they were given the all clear.

Both casualties were very grateful and told the lifeguards they believe they would have drowned if the lifeguards were not there.

Falmouth Coastguard was informed of the unattended inflatable and RNLI Appledore inshore lifeboat was called to retrieve it.

RNLI Lifeguard Supervisor, Matt Whitley, said: ‘Sea conditions look to be a bit safer for some of this week as the surf will be quite flat but offshore winds are strong, so avoid the temptation of inflatables. Blow-up toys, rafts and airbeds can easily be swept out to sea and should never be used when the orange windsock is flying, which indicates offshore winds.

‘We would encourage everyone to swim at lifeguarded beaches. RNLI lifeguards are on daily patrols and will be there to answer questions and offer assistance should you get into difficulty.’

Over the weekend at Croyde, RNLI lifeguards were busy patrolling the beach doing preventative work, advising people on the safest swim spots and tide times, when they attended to a 16-year-old girl who had suspected concussion after being hit by her bodyboard. Lifeguards called an ambulance and the casualty was taken to hospital.

A male surfer who was struggling against a rip current was also picked up by an RNLI lifeguard on a rescue board, who brought him back in to shore, and also retrieved his surfboard for him.

At Blackpool Sands on the south coast, RNLI lifeguards had a busy day on Sunday (14 August) rescuing beachgoers.

Senior RNLI lifeguard Camile Dubois was keeping an eye on a packed beach at the water’s edge, where around 4000 people were enjoying Blackpool Sands in the sun, when he spotted a girl struggling in the water at around 10.30am.

Rushing to her aid, Camile brought the girl back in and checked her over to make sure she hadn’t suffered any injuries.

At around 1pm, Camile was in action again when he saw a male swimmer struggling in the water. As he got closer, he noticed the man was panicking and was beginning to go under the water. Camile brought the casualty back to the safety of the beach; luckily he had not swallowed any water.

A total of five kayakers were also assisted back to the beach by Camile and his fellow lifeguard, Sam Fitton after they came off their kayaks and were struggling in the water.

The RNLI’s Respect the Water campaign is running throughout the summer. To find out more about the dangers of the coast and how to stay safe, visit .

Notes to editors
• Picture attached of RNLI lifeguards Paul and Tegan at Westward Ho! Credit RNLI
• Video footage of the male surfer assisted at Croyde can be downloaded here

RNLI media contacts
For further information, please contact either Aysha Bryant, RNLI Communications Student Placement, on 01752 854479 or  or Chloe Smith, RNLI Press Officer, on 07920818807 or email

Key facts about the RNLI

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution is the charity that saves lives at sea. Our volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service in the United Kingdom and Ireland from 238 lifeboat stations, including four along the River Thames and inland lifeboat stations at Loch Ness, Lough Derg, Enniskillen, Carrybridge and Lough Ree. Additionally the RNLI has more than 1,000 lifeguards on over 240 beaches around the UK and operates a specialist flood rescue team, which can respond anywhere across the UK and Ireland when inland flooding puts lives at risk.

The RNLI relies on public donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. As a charity it is separate from, but works alongside, government-controlled and funded coastguard services. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824 our lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved at least 140,000 lives. Volunteers make up 95% of the charity, including 4,600 volunteer lifeboat crew members and 3,000 volunteer shore crew. Additionally, tens of thousands of other dedicated volunteers raise funds and awareness, give safety advice, and help in our museums, shops and offices.

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