Teenager thanks off-duty RNLI lifeguard and surfers for saving her life
A teenager from North Devon has thanked an off-duty RNLI lifeguard and other surfers who saved her life after she was dragged out to sea in a strong rip current.
The pair attempted to swim back to the shore unsuccessfully and were soon struggling to keep their heads above the water.
Beth said: ‘I was playing around in the surf, we weren’t very far out; the water was only up to my waist. I didn’t realise we were in a rip current right away, I just noticed that suddenly I couldn’t touch the bottom, it happened in seconds. I tried to grab on to my stepdad, but the rip pulled us apart.
‘I was really panicking then, I started to wave my hands and shout for help, but I could hardly keep my head out of the water.’
RNLI lifeguard Beau Bromham had finished patrols for the day and was helping with Croyde Surf Club at the beach when he spotted the family in difficulty. He headed over to them on his surf board and found three nearby surfers had already managed to reach the pair and let them hold on to their boards, but they were also being pulled out by the rip current.
Beau managed to reassure Beth and put her onto his surf board before paddling her back to the shore. He then returned to the other surfers who all helped to bring Sam back to beach together on their boards.
Beau said: ‘The rip current at that end of the beach is really powerful; it can drag people out to sea within seconds. When I got to Beth she was really panicking so I tried to calm her down and talk her through what was happening.
Beth added: ‘I want to thank Beau and all the surfers who came to help us that night. If the lifeguard and surfers hadn’t got to me when they did, I don’t think I would be here.’
RNLI Lifeguard Manager, Phil Hill, said it is important to respect the water.
‘The sea can be dangerously unpredictable. Rip currents can be hard to spot for the untrained eye, in some cases appearing like the calmest place to swim but the reality is very different.
‘The sea is powerful and can catch out even the strongest and most experienced swimmers. We advise everyone to swim at a lifeguarded beach during patrol hours. Our lifeguards are trained professionals and can advise beachgoers where the safe swimming areas are.’
If you do get caught in a rip current, the charity’s advice is:
• stay calm – don’t panic
• if you can stand, wade don’t swim
• keep hold of your board or inflatable to help you float
• raise your hand and shout for help
• never try to swim directly against the rip or you’ll get exhausted
• swim parallel to the beach until free of the rip, then make for shore
If you see anyone else in trouble, alert the lifeguards or call 999 and ask for the Coastguard.
RNLI lifeguards are on patrol from 10-6pm daily. To find your nearest lifeguarded beach visit RNLI.org. For more information on how to stay safe visit RNLI.org/RespectTheWater.
Notes to editors
• Photo shows RNLI lifeguard Beau Bromham with Beth Tack at Croyde beach, credit RNLI.
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Key facts about the RNLI
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 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.