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 www.rnli.org/respectthewater .

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 http://rnli.org/Pages/Video-Details.aspx?VideoItemID=fPtPOkhL

RNLI media contacts
For further information, please contact either Aysha Bryant, RNLI Communications Student Placement, on 01752 854479 or aysha_bryant@rnli.org.uk  or Chloe Smith, RNLI Press Officer, on 07920818807 or email chloe_smith@rnli.org.uk

Key facts about the RNLI

The RNLI charity saves lives at sea. Its volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service around the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland coasts. The RNLI operates over 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and, in a normal year, more than 240 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK and Channel Islands. The RNLI is independent of Coastguard and government and depends on voluntary donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824, its lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved over 142,700 lives.

Learn more about the RNLI

For more information please visit the RNLI website or Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. News releases, videos and photos are available on the News Centre.

Contacting the RNLI - public enquiries

Members of the public may contact the RNLI on 0300 300 9990 (UK) or 1800 991802 (Ireland) or by email.