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RNLI lifeguard rescues 9-year-old boy drifting out to sea on inflatable dolphin

Lifeguards News Release

An RNLI lifeguard rescued a young boy who was out of his depth and steadily drifting further away from the shore on his inflatable toy yesterday (Tuesday 26 July) afternoon at 2pm at Joss Bay, Kent.

Ryan Supple, 9, had kicked his way too far out to sea on his inflatable dolphin when lifeguards spotted him struggling to get back to shore.
One of the charity’s lifeguards, Harry Higate Royce, aged 17, kept an eye on the boy as concerns grew that he would drift out of the red and yellow flagged zone, which is the designated area for swimmers visiting a lifeguarded beach.
Harry immediately sprang into action and took to the sea on a rescue board to check on the youngster. After reaching him, Harry quickly discovered that Ryan  was unable to swim and was getting tired of kicking as he struggled to get back in to shore.
RNLI Lifeguard Supervisor, Ben Detheridge, said: ‘Because of the direction of the wind, the boy would have eventually been blown towards the chalk reef just north of the bay. This means he would have had to clamber across a slippery, uneven reef to get back to the sandy shore, which could have led to further challenges for the lifeguards.’
Ben continued; ‘The boy and his family did the right thing by coming to a lifeguarded beach and swimming between the red and yellow flags to enjoy their day at the seaside. However, the conditions of the sea are ever-changing and unpredictable which can quickly lead even the most experienced of swimmers into a difficult situation.’
The rescue comes after a busy weekend which saw lifeguards at Joss Bay assist a further four beach goers in inflatable boats, kayaks and rubber rings.
The boy was reunited with his mother on the beach and both were given safety advice by the lifeguards on duty. Ryan’s mother, Claire Supple added: ‘Thank you so much to the lifeguards who helped my son get back to shore safely, if it wasn’t for them, who knows what could have happened?’
RNI lifeguards will be patrolling 13 beaches across Thanet and Swale from 10am until 6pm every day until September 4.

Notes to editors:
Below is a full list of beaches in Thanet and Swale which will be patrolled by RNLI lifeguards this summer:
Isle of Sheppey:
Leysdown on sea
Minnis bay
West bay
St Mildreds
Margate main sands
Joss bay
Botany bay
Stone bay
Broadstairs (Viking Bay)
RNLI media contacts
• Tim Ash, RNLI Public Relations Manager (London/East/South East) on 0207 6207426, 07785 296252
• Sophie Coller-Nielsen Press Officer (London/East/South East), 0207 6207416, 07824 416615
For enquiries outside normal business hours, contact the RNLI duty press officer on 01202 336789


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