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RNLI lifeguards on Benone Beach treat young girl after sting by weever fish

Lifeboats News Release

RNLI lifeguards assisted a young child who was stung by a weever fish on Benone Beach in Limavady on Saturday afternoon (23 July).

At approximately 3.20pm, a concerned mother approached the Beach Lifeguard Unit after her daughter had stood on something sharp which she believed to be glass in the sand.

Senior lifeguard Liam Mullan on hearing the symptoms knew immediately that the girl had been stung by a weever fish and advised the mother to bring her daughter up to the beach lifeguard unit where the highly skilled and trained lifeguards could administer casualty care.

‘The weever fish buries itself in the sand in shallow water which is nice and warm’, Liam explained. ‘It has up to three barbs on its back which if you stand on can break off into your foot. It is extremely rare for this to happen so I would urge people not to be worried about this.’

The young girl who was in a great deal of pain at the time was treated by Liam and fellow lifeguards Johnny Shirley and Daniel Walton.

‘The girl was in agony at the time,’ Liam explained, ‘so we began by talking to reassure her. We explained to the girl and her mother what a weever fish was and how we were going to treat the sting. We boiled some water on the hob and we put the girls foot first into cold water and then heated it up until we had reached good bath water temperature and then a bearable hot water that would allow the toxin from the sting to break down.’

Following the incident, Liam added: ‘We were happy to assist the young girl who was  in a lot of pain initially and we would like to wish her a speedy recovery. We would encourage beach users not to worry unduly as there is a slim chance of you standing on a weever fish. However, should you be concerned or if you do get stung, please approach the lifeguards who are trained to deal with these injuries and can administer first aid.’

RNLI lifeguards are located on 10 beaches along the Causeway Coast and in County Down and offer the following advice to those planning a trip to the beach:

1. Always go to a lifeguarded beach
2. Swim and bodyboard between the red and yellow flags
3. Look after yourself in the sun - SLIP (slip on a long-sleeved t-shirt), SLAP (slap on a wide-brimmed hat), SLOP (slop on some factor 30+ suncream)
4. If in doubt ask a lifeguard.


RNLI media contacts
For more information please contact Nuala McAloon, RNLI Press Officer on 00353 876483547, email or Niamh Stephenson RNLI Public Relations Manager Ireland on 00 353 87 1254 124, 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