String of rip current rescues by RNLI lifeguards on Gower sparks safety call
RNLI lifeguards have issued safety advice to summer beachgoers after five people were rescued from the water off two Gower beaches in a string of rescues.
Four people were rescued after being taken out into deeper water by rip currents at Three Cliffs Bay and another swimmer was pulled from the water at Rotherslade Bay, Langland.
RNLI lifeguards are urging people to Respect the Water and always swim between the red and yellow flags.
The three incidents at Three Cliffs Bay all happened on a high ebbing tide with swell running - conditions where outward flowing rip currents are more prevalent – and visitors to the beach are being reminded to only swim there during lifeguarded hours in the flagged swimming zone.
On Tuesday (1 August) a six-year-old boy was rescued by lifeguard Kieran Hennah after he got out of his depth swimming on the edge of the red and yellow flagged swimming zone at about 4pm. Kieran, who was patrolling the water’s edge, immediately swam out to the boy with a rescue tube and was able to keep him afloat to bring him back to the safety of the beach.
Then on Wednesday (2 August), again at about 4pm, a 16-year-old boy was taken out of his depth by a rip current outside the flagged swimming zone and was struggling to make headway back to the beach. The boy, who was bodyboarding, had been swept between 50m and 100m out when lifeguard Oliver Allard reached him on a surf rescue board. The boy was taken onto the board and returned to the safety of the shore, where he was given safety advice.
On Thursday (August 3) a man and a woman in their 40s also got caught in a rip outside of the swimming zone and were being swept out. It was 5.55pm – five minutes before the lifeguards finish their daily service – but senior lifeguard Sophie Phillips and fellow lifeguards Rhys Wydenbach and Hamish Addy immediately responded. The two people were between 50m and 100m out from the beach when Sophie sent Hamish and Rhys in on two surf rescue boards to retrieve the two people. They were quickly reached and brought back to the beach by the lifeguards.
At Rotherslade Bay, Langland, on Friday (4 August) another youngster needed the assistance of RNLI lifeguards – this time a 14-year-old male swimmer. The boy was in difficulty in a rip current and after his friend alerted lifeguard Rhys Wydenbach to the situation he immediately swam out to the boy and brought him ashore using a rescue tube.
Rob Steele, RNLI Lifeguard Supervisor, said: ‘None of the rescued people needed further medical treatment and we are glad to have had successful outcomes for these five people.
‘I would like to remind everyone thinking of visiting the coast this summer to visit an RNLI lifeguarded beach and swim between the red and yellow flags, which is the area designated as safest to swim by our professional lifeguards.
‘Rip currents are strong currents of water running out to sea that can quickly drag you out beyond your depth. If you get caught in a rip, don’t panic, and don’t try to swim against it or you’ll get exhausted. If you can stand, wade, don’t swim. If you’re out of your depth and getting tired, try to relax and float for a short time to regain control of your breathing. Then, if you can, swim parallel to the shore until free of the rip and then head for shore, raise your hand and shout for help.’
The lifeguard service on Three Cliffs Bay is part of a wider community safety plan for the area being provided by the RNLI, the National Trust, other landowners, businesses and the wider community. Paul Boland, general manager for the National Trust, said: ‘Our advice has always been that rip currents and other unpredictable conditions mean people have to be very vigilant and aware about their personal safety when visiting Three Cliffs bay. Without proper RNLI supervision, bathing there is unsafe and dangerous and our advice is not to bathe at the beach when unattended.’
RNLI lifeguards will be on Port Eynon Beach, Three Cliffs Bay, Caswell Bay, Langland Bay, Swansea Bay and Aberavon Beach between 10am and 6pm every day until Sunday 3 September.
The RNLI is asking people to visit RNLI.org/RespectTheWater where they will find safety advice. On social media search #RespectTheWater.
Notes to editors:
The attached picture is a stock image of an RNLI lifeguard in action. Credit RNLI
For more information please contact Chris Cousens, RNLI Press Officer, Wales and West, on 07748 265 496 or 01745 585162 or by email on Chris_Cousens@RNLI.org.uk.
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 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.