RNLI lifeguard saves two young children in rip current at Porth beach

Lifeguards News Release

At 1pm on Saturday 5 August Senior RNLI lifeguard Dave Kelly was carrying out a patrol on the water’s edge at Porth beach, Cornwall when he spotted two children, aged 5 and 7, drifting out of the bathing area into a rip current.

RNLI/Jade Dyer

The RNLI Lifeguard Unit looking out onto Porth Beach. Please note this was not taken on the day of the rescue.

He drove over to their location with the intention of using the PA speakers to warn them that they were drifting out of the red and yellow flagged area and encourage them to return to the safety of the patrolled zone. However, upon arrival it was clear that they needed help as they had started to get into difficulty in the water.

Dave swam out to them, telling one to stay on his body board while he headed for the second child who was starting to go under the water. He managed to reach him and bring him safely above the water, checking that he was ok before proceeding to help his brother.

He brought the two boys back to the shore where they were reunited with their thankful mother. They were shook up but otherwise ok as they had not inhaled any water. He gave the family advice on what to do if they ever got trapped in a rip current in the future and made sure they knew how to get help if they got into trouble in the water.

Senior RNLI Lifeguard Dave Kelly said: ‘Fortunately the family had chosen to visit a lifeguarded beach, meaning that this incident had a positive resolution. If the children hadn’t been spotted by a lifeguard they would have been in great danger.’

‘If you do find yourself caught in a rip current, don’t try to swim against it or you’ll get exhausted. If you can, swim parallel to the shore until free of the rip and then head for shore. If you can stand, wade don’t swim. You should always raise your hand and shout for help so that others are aware that you’re in trouble and can raise the alarm.’

RNLI safety message

Swimming in the sea if great fun, but the sea is not like a swimming pool. Be aware of rip currents, tides, waves and cold water. Always swim at a lifeguarded beach. If you can’t make it to a lifeguarded beach, learn more about your chosen beach before you go and read local hazard signs. Never swim alone.

If you see anyone else in trouble, alert the lifeguards or call 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard.

You can find out more about how to stay safe in and around the water by visiting RNLI.org/RespectTheWater.

Note to editors

  • Porth beach is patrolled daily by RNLI lifeguards from 10am-6pm until 1 October. During the summer holidays there will be extended patrols from 10am-7pm up until 3 September.
  • The enclosed photo shows the RNLI lifeguard beach unit at Porth Beach. Please note this was not taken on the day of the rescue. Please credit RNLI/Jade Dyer. The second photo is a stock image of an RNLI lifeguard. Please credit RNLI/Nathan Williams.
  • Between 2010 and 2013 there were 39 fatalities under the age of 18 in UK coastal waters. In 2013 there were 704 RNLI lifeguard incidents involving people sea swimming and 738 RNLI lifeguard incidents involving body boarders.

RNLI media contacts

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

RNLI/Nathan Williams.

Stock image of RNLI lifeguard.

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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