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 Nuala_McAloon@rnli.org.uk or Niamh Stephenson RNLI Public Relations Manager Ireland on 00 353 87 1254 124, email Niamh_Stephenson@rnli.org.uk

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The RNLI charity saves lives at sea. Its volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service around the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland coasts. The RNLI operates over 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and, in a normal year, more than 240 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK and Channel Islands. The RNLI is independent of Coastguard and government and depends on voluntary donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824, its lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved over 142,700 lives.

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