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Increased Signs at Sully Island in response to RNLI rescues

Lifeboats News Release

Temporary signage has been introduced on to Sully Island by RNLI volunteers in an attempt to raise public awareness of the risks from the incoming tide.

It is a fact that during the summer months the majority of call-outs to the RNLI station at Penarth result from people finding themselves trapped on Sully Island by speed and force of the incoming tide. In recent weeks 14 people have been rescue by Penarth lifeboats.

Sully Island is a popular place to walk, but people regularly find themselves trapped and in need of RNLI assistance. The speed of the incoming tide can make crossing from the mainland to Sully Island dangerous and potentially life threatening.  Safe crossing times are currently indicated by a traffic light system, but it is hoped that the new signs, located on the island, will help raise awareness further.  

Jason Dunlop, Penarth RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager, said: 'We hope these news signs on Sully Island will complement the existing safety measures to help increase awareness around the risks of walking to and from the island.

'These signs are aimed at visitors on the island primarily to ask anyone who does become cut off not to attempt to enter the water to return to the mainland.'

Nicola Davies, RNLI Community Incident Reduction Manager, said:

'We ask people going to Sully Island to always check the tidal traffic light sign located on the wall heading down to the causeway to check when if it is safe to cross.

'If it is green it is safe to go and the sign will tell people how long they can safely stay on the island.

'If it shows amber then you must be cautious as the tide is heading back in, if the sign is showing red our advice is never to go to the island as there is a real risk of being cut off.

'If anyone does get stuck on the island our advice is not to try and wade ashore, which is a dangerous thing to do. People can easily be swept away by the strong tidal currents. People should stay on the island and dial 999 and ask for the Coastguard.

'The RNLI charity, in partnership with other organisations, is undertaking a range of initiatives to increase knowledge about dangers at Sully Island and these new signs are another tool to help raise peoples awareness of the risks involved when visiting Sully Island.'

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