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RNLI lifeguards team up to rescue body boarder at Woolacombe

Lifeguards News Release

RNLI lifeguards team up to rescue body boarder at Woolacombe

​RNLI lifeguards at Woolacombe came together as a team to help rescue a body boarder who dislocated her shoulder.

The woman received the injury whilst body boarding at the beach at 11.40am on Tuesday 12 July. In pain and being thrown around amongst the surf, the casualty attempted to swim further out to avoid the waves that were causing her more difficulty. 

RNLI lifeguard Niall Desy spotted the body boarder in trouble whilst carrying out routine training in the water on a rescue board

Niall paddled over to her and signalled for extra assistance to get her back to shore safely.  The inshore rescue boat (IRB) was launched with two more lifeguards on hand to help the casualty in to the boat.

The woman was suffering from the cold and was in a lot of pain by the time the lifeguards reached the beach. Several lifeguards administered first aid and helped the casualty out of the boat to the lifeguard unit.

Matt Whitley, RNLI Lifeguard Supervisor, said: ‘All the lifeguards who were involved in this first aid incident worked really well as a team. RNLI lifeguards are trained in casualty care for a situation like this and dealt with it quickly and professionally. We all wish the casualty a speedy recovery.

‘If you ever need help in the water, raise your arm so that a lifeguard can come to your assistance. ​You can also shout for help, but always keep calm and don’t panic in such situations.’

The woman returned to the beach to thank the lifeguards with a card and treats.

Notes to editors

The video can be downloaded here

Media Contacts
For further information, please contact either Aysha Bryant, RNLI Communications Student Placement, on 01752 854479 or  or Chloe Smith, RNLI Press Officer, on 07920 818807 or email    

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