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Busy weekend for RNLI lifeguards in Newquay during Boardmasters Festival

Lifeguards News Release

Between 9-13 August, the Newquay RNLI lifeguard teams carried out 25 rescues and assisted nearly 200 people in the water, after over 50,000 people visited the area during the Boardmasters Festival.

RNLI/Nathan Williams

A stock photo of black and white lifeguard flags at Waterside Bay, Cornwall.

Watergate Bay was one of the busiest beaches during the festival, with a local surfboard and wetsuit hire shop reporting that they had their busiest day ever on the Saturday. Some of the rescues took place inside the red and yellow flags as lifeguards had made the patrolled zone bigger in order to encourage the large numbers of swimmers coming down from the festival to stay within an area monitored by lifeguards.

The lifeguard teams successfully used preventative measures, such as expanding the patrolled zone and frequent PA announcements to keep beachgoers safe.

RNLI Lifeguard Supervisor Mark Priem said: ‘All the lifeguards worked extremely hard during the course of the weekend, using all their training and knowledge to look after everyone. Their continued professionalism and dedication throughout the course of the event is a credit to the RNLI.'

‘We would always encourage you to only enter the water between the red and yellow flags if you’re swimming or bodyboarding, and if you’re surfing you should enter between the black and white flags. You should never go into the water if red flags are flying.’

On Saturday 12 August a mass rescue took place at 2.55pm. Lifeguards were already in the water using two rescue boards and a rescue water craft to control the numbers and conditions. The waves were 1m high with a force 5 wind, which is not unusual for the beach, but the large number of bathers presented an increased risk. In total nine people were rescued in one incident by senior lifeguard Kerk Latham and lifeguards Sandy Wyper and Luke Hollobone.

Mark added: ‘There were a considerable amount of people under the influence of alcohol swimming out too far from the patrolled zone and finding they were unable to get back, so needed rescuing by the lifeguards. We want everyone to have a fun time while they’re at the beach but we also want you to be safe, so please don’t mix alcohol with the water.’

Around 1 in 8 coastal deaths in the UK involve alcohol. It can seriously impair your judgement, reactions and ability to swim. If you’re going to drink, save it for after you’ve been in the water. If you’re out drinking near the sea or a river, look out for your mates. If you see anyone in trouble in the water, call 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard, or if the lifeguards are on patrol, alert them to the situation.

Note to editors

The enclosed photos are:

  • A stock photo of black and white lifeguard flags at Waterside Bay, Cornwall. Please credit RNLI/Nathan Williams.
  • A stock photo of an RNLI lifeguard shirt. Please credit RNLI/Nathan Williams.

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For more information please contact Jade Dyer, Communications Student Placement, on 01752 854485 or by emailing

RNLI/Nathan Williams

A stock photo of an RNLI lifeguard shirt.

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