RNLI whips up an ‘Ice Surprise’ to deliver coastal safety messages in Newcastle

Lifeboats News Release

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) will be harnessing the power of social media and the nation’s love of a summer ice cream to help spread vital lifesaving messages in Newcastle at Grey’s Monument this weekend (28 -29 August).

The lifesaving charity’s new #IceSurprise social media campaign is designed to encourage people to share coastal safety messages with their friends and followers on Facebook and Twitter, in exchange for an ice cream.

The campaign has already seen an #IceSurprise ice cream van travelling round five UK cities: Bristol, Brighton, London, Cardiff and Liverpool ahead of the upcoming visit to Newcastle.

The van will hand out postcards containing a water safety message from the RNLI. Once the recipient* has shared the message on either Facebook or Twitter, they will be rewarded with a free ice cream.

RNLI lifeguards patrol over 220 UK beaches. Last year they saved 94 lives and helped 18,181 people. But despite this, each year, an average 165 people die in the UK at the coast.

The RNLI national drowning prevention campaign, Respect the Water, aims to halve the number of accidental coastal deaths in the UK and Ireland by 2024. Raising awareness of the dangers of the coast and providing key safety messages to prevent water-related accidents via social media will help achieve this target.

Carl Harris, RNLI lifeguard Manager in Tyne and Wear commented: ‘It’s really important that the public understands that UK waters are dangerously unpredictable and that they know what to do should they get into difficulty.

‘This campaign is a fun and interactive way to teach people – letting them and their friends know how to stay safe this summer and not end up as one of our statistics. It’s all about sharing our safety messages with as many people as possible.

‘By the end of the national campaign we hope to have shared key safety facts with over a million people, giving away over 36,000 free ice cream in the process.’

To get your free tub of Jude’s Very Vanilla ice cream you can find the #IceSurprise van at Grey’s Monument, Grainger Street, Newcastle on the 28 – 29 August.

The RNLI is the charity that saves lives at sea around the coasts of the UK and Ireland. Anyone who wants to make a donation to the RNLI can do so on the charity’s website at www.rnli.org/donate

 *Over 13s only

RNLI media contacts
For more information please contact Clare Hopps, RNLI Press Officer North at: clare_hopps@rnli.org.uk or call the RNLI Press Office on 01202 336789.

RNLI Picture caption
The photograph shows RNLI lifeguards taking part in Ice Surprise. Credit: Nigel Millard.

2015 statistics
Last year RNLI lifeguards responded to 15,714 incidents, helping 18,181 people and saving 94 lives. The charity’s volunteer lifeboat crews launched 8,228 times, rescuing 7,973 people and saving 348 lives.

Jude’s are a family business creating delicious and innovative great British ice cream from their dairy in Hampshire. For more information visit: judes.co.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.