RNLI lifeguards involved in mass rescue at Crantock beach

Lifeguards News Release

On Friday 4 August at 1.30pm RNLI lifeguards were on patrol at the water’s edge during a flooding tide at Crantock beach, Cornwall, when they had to rescue multiple body boarders from a strong current.

RNLI/Jade Dyer

Stock photo of Crantock beach. Please note this was not taken on the day of the rescues.

There were a large number of holidaymakers enjoying their time at the beach by bodyboarding in the 1m surf. As the tide pushed in a strong travelling rip current appeared, quickly washing a large number of the body boarders out of their depth. All were struggling to return to shallower water and several began to wave for assistance.

Two lifeguards were deployed on rescue boards and performed 11 rescues and 15 assists in total. Everyone was quickly brought to safety and reassured by the lifeguards. The conditions subsided shortly afterwards as the tide pushed further in.

RNLI Lifeguard Supervisor John Steadman said: ‘Crantock beach has some unpredictable currents at the moment due to the typography of the beach constantly changing. The river is still running across the length of the beach which causes lateral currents at certain stages of the tide.'

'The beach and water can still be safely enjoyed, but we’d advise that you only enter the water between the yellow and red flags, and speak to a lifeguard on arrival to find out more about the tide times and potential hazards to be aware of.’

The RNLI lifeguards involved in the rescue were Lesley Dawson, Simon Cooke and Senior Lifeguard Steve Daley.

RNLI safety advice for body boarders

  • Always bodyboard between the red and yellow flags.
  • Always wear your leash and hold onto your board if you get into trouble – it will help you float.
  • Always bodyboard with a mate, especially in big swell. Look out for one another.
  • Check the local forecast for wind, tide and swell.
  • Follow safety advice from Surfing GB and The British Bodyboard Club.

To find out more about what to do if you find yourself or someone else in trouble in the water, visit RNLI.org/RespectTheWater.


Notes to editors

  • Crantock beach is patrolled by RNLI lifeguards between 10am-6pm until 1 October.
  • Wherever possible, you should swim at a lifeguarded beach. Always read and obey the safety signs, usually found at the entrance to the beach. This will help you avoid potential hazards on the beach and identify the safest areas for swimming.
  • In 2013 there were 738 RNLI lifeguard incidents involving body boarders. Between 2006 and 2011 53% of people rescued from rip currents at RNLI lifeguarded beaches were bodyboarding.
  • The enclosed photo is a stock photo of Crantock beach. Please note this was not taken on the day of the rescues. Please credit RNLI/Jade Dyer.

RNLI media contacts

For more information please contact Jade Dyer, Communications Student Placement, on 01752 854485 or by emailing Jade_Dyer@rnli.org.uk.

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 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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