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Swimmer rescued by RNLI lifeguards after getting caught in a rip current

Lifeguards News Release

RNLI Lifeguards at Constantine are reminding beachgoers about the dangers of rip currents after rescuing a swimmer who got into difficulty.

Lifeguards Cameron Wickins and Vinny Prescott were carrying out routine patrols on Saturday 23 July in their inshore rescue boat (IRB) at around 2pm when they noticed the swimmer struggling.

The man had drifted outside of the red and yellow flags and was out of his depth when he got caught in a rip current.

Lifeguard Cameron Wickins said: ‘We had been advising body boarders who had been drifting out quite far about the safest place to be when we noticed a tired looking swimmer in the rip current. He was struggling to get back into shore and did the right thing and signalled to us by waving one arm in the air. We got to him quickly in the IRB and pulled him to safety. He was shattered, but very thankful we were there to help him.’

The lifeguards returned the unharmed man to the beach and continued with their patrols.

Senior Lifeguard Vincent Prescott added: ‘At Constantine at low tide and high tide strong rip currents can form, which is why we always advise people to swim between the red and yellow flags and not out too far. It’s peak season now and the beach is getting busy with locals and visitors. This kind of incident highlights how important it is to choose a lifeguarded beach. As RNLI lifeguards we are always happy to advise people about the local hazards at each beach. People can easily get out of their depth without realising it. It was a busy day and there were several other swimmers and body boarders who were rescued by lifeguards using the rescue board.’

In the UK, the majority of RNLI lifeguard incidents involve rip currents. They are a major cause of accidental drowning on beaches all across the world.

The best way to avoid rip currents is to choose a lifeguarded beach and always swim between the red and yellow flags, which have been marked based on where is safer to swim in the current conditions. This also helps you to be spotted more easily, should something go wrong.

If you’re caught in a rip current, the RNLI’s advice is to:

· Stay calm

· Float on your back to regulate your breathing until you can swim to shore or call for help

· 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

For more RNLI safety advice visit RNLI.org/RespectTheWater

Note to editors

  • Video footage available to download from the RNLI’s website. Credit RNLI
  • Interviews available upon request.

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RNLI Lifeguards rescue swimmer in difficulty at Constantine

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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