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Two RNLI lifeguards - both called Finn - rescue four from rip current at Nolton

Lifeguards News Release

Fins are normally the last thing people swimming in the sea want to see.

But yesterday (Tuesday 23 August) two RNLI lifeguards – both called Finn – leapt into action to rescue three children and a woman who were washed into a fast-flowing rip current.

Lifeguards Finn Isles and Finn Neumann were both on duty at Nolton Haven beach in Pembrokeshire at about 4.45pm when four people got swept into the outward flowing current by a big wave and were unable to return to the beach.

Finn Isles, who was on patrol at the water’s edge, first spotted a 14-year-old girl who had been taken sideways by the wave and was being taken out of her depth by the rip current on the right hand side of the beach.  He radioed for back-up and immediately paddled out towards her on a surf rescue board.

Fellow lifeguard Finn Neumann went to support and just as Finn Isles was reaching the teenage girl he noticed the girl’s mother attempting to help two nine-year-old boys on bodyboards who had also got swept into the rip current and were drifting out of their depth. While trying to reach the boys she also got into difficulty and was unable to swim against the rip current.

First Finn Neumann helped the two young boys back onto their bodyboards and advised them to swim sideways out of the rip current to their dad, who by this time had arrived and was close by. He then swam to the woman and strapped her to the rescue tube, before negotiating the big surf to swim her safely back to the beach.

The two boys reached their dad and were also returned safely to shore.

All four were checked over by the lifeguards and the 14-year-old girl was advised to go to hospital as she had swallowed some water. Her mother and the other two young boys needed no further treatment.

Scott Candler, RNLI Lifeguard Supervisor, said: ‘This incident shows how unpredictable and powerful the sea can be and both Finn Isles and Finn Neumann deserve credit for the way they handled this multi-casualty rescue. They made good decisions in which casualties to prioritise given the circumstances and that resulted in a good outcome for everyone.

‘Rips are strong currents of water running out to sea that can quickly drag you out beyond your depth. If you get caught in a rip, don’t panic, don’t try to swim against it or you’ll get exhausted. If you can stand, wade, don’t swim. If you can, swim parallel to the shore until free of the rip and then head for shore, raise your hand and shout for help.

'Because these four people were swimming at a lifeguarded beach they were able to get the help they needed promptly. It is also important to remember RNLI lifeguards are thoroughly trained to deal with incidents such as this and we urge anyone who sees someone else in difficulty in the water to call for help and not to try and go to their aid themselves.'

Notes to editors:

The attached picture shows an RNLI lifeguard in action. Credit RNLI.

For more information please contact Chris Cousens, RNLI Press Officer, Wales and West, on 07748 265 496 or 01745 585162 or by email on

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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