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Chiswick RNLI lifeboat crew advise children about inflatables safety

Lifeboats News Release

Just after 2pm on Tuesday afternoon 5 July 2016 Chiswick RNLI Lifeboat was launched to reports of a group of boys (around 12 years old) trying to go afloat on a small inflatable at the drawdock next to Fuller’s Griffin Brewery on Chiswick Mall.

When the lifeboat arrived the children were still on the foreshore and were now with a parent who had recently arrived.

She was not happy at the boys’ plans and asked the lifeboat crew to speak to them. RNLI Helmsman Gary Tiller brought the lifeboat up to the shore and RNLI volunteer James Anthony talked to the children about the risks of playing in the river; at that time the spring tide was running at over four knots.

Gary commented: ‘Had they gone afloat in a tiny inflatable they would not have been able to control it and would have been swept away by the spring tide and then exposed to the risk of running into the many moored craft and other obstructions along the river.’

James Anthony, volunteer lifeboat crew member, said: 'I commend these boys for getting out and about amongst nature - many young people are content to play on their mobile phones or games consoles, and with all that time spent staring at a screen they miss out on their natural environment around them. That said, the river can be a very hazardous place if people are not careful and don’t respect the water.

'There are safe ways to enjoy it though, and I'd suggest they could think about joining a local canoe club or the Sea Scouts based at Chiswick Pier, where water activities are well supervised and proper safety equipment is provided.'

The RNLI is promoting its Respect the Water campaign this summer. Adam Robson, RNLI Community Incident Reduction Manager, commented: 'As the summer holidays approach we are prepared for younger people using the River Thames as a source of entertainment. We want to emphasise that the river can be dangerous with strong tidal currents and cold water shock posing a serious risk to life.

‘We always like to see people using the river recreationally however we want to urge people to take care and make themselves aware of the dangers the water can pose and know what to do if you do find yourself in trouble.’

For more information head to or search online for Port of London Authority.

Chiswick RNLI Lifeboat is the second busiest in the UK and Ireland; since starting service in 2002, has attended over 2900 incidents and rescued over 1500 people.

Notes to editors

      The RNLI has 235 lifeboat stations including four on the Thames. Chiswick RNLI lifeboat became operational on the 2nd January 2002. To learn more about the lifeboat station go to  or

      The RNLI is independent of Coastguard and Government and is entirely supported by voluntary contributions.

      For more information, video or photos contact David Clarke, Chiswick RNLI Volunteer Press Officer on 0795 121 0500

A charity registered in England and Wales (209603) and Scotland (SCO37736)

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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The RNLI is a charity registered in England and Wales (209603) and Scotland (SC037736). Charity number 20003326 in the Republic of Ireland