Safety warning after sharp-eyed Kent lifeguards save walkers cut off by the tide
Visitors to the UK’s beaches are being urged to always seek advice about local tides and weather conditions after three teenage walkers were rescued by RNLI lifeguards and the Ramsgate inshore lifeboat yesterday (Thursday 27 July) afternoon.
Quick-thinking RNLI lifeguards Katie Fidock and Taine Carrick, who were patrolling Stone Bay at Broadstairs in Kent, raised the alarm at 1.30pm after realising that three people they had spotted walking across the sands towards Joss Bay, to the north of Broadstairs, had been cut off by the tide and were surrounded by water.
Katie immediately launched on her rescue board from Stone Bay to reach the three walkers and was soon joined by lifeguard Taine Carrick who launched from Viking Bay. However with the tide quickly rising and coming in fast, the RNLI lifeguards realised they were running out of time to get the three people to safety and the Ramsgate inshore lifeboat (ILB) was launched to assist.
The lifeguards remained with the two teenage boys and one girl to make sure they were safe before the lifeboat arrived. Taine and Katie then ferried the teenagers across to the ILB on their rescue boards.
‘This could so easily have ended in a tragedy if our lifeguards had not spotted the danger,’ said Area Lifesaving Manager James Uren. ‘This is a regular cut-off point when we get a high tide in the afternoon.’
‘People set off from Stone Bay trying to make it around the headland to Joss Bay and suddenly find that the tide is coming in much faster and the water is much deeper than they realise.’
He explained that the situation is made even more dangerous by the sea defences at Joss Bay which can act as a further barrier when they round the headland. ‘It’s a well- known pinch point,’ he said.
‘The walkers who were trying to get around to Joss Bay were fully clothed and had no intention of going into the water,’ added James. ‘It’s a fitting reminder that of the 190 people who drown in UK and Irish waters each year, more than half of them never intended to get wet.’
RNLI Community Safety Partner Guy Addington said a few safety tips could help prevent future incidents. ‘We have signage at each of our life-guarded beaches clearly highlighting the times of high tides and it’s important for people to realise that, particularly in this area, the water comes in very fast and people can find themselves cut off sometimes hours before the water reaches its peak.’
‘Our lifeguards receive world-class training which also includes detailed knowledge of local conditions, including tides and specific dangers and we’d urge anyone thinking of taking a walk across the sands to seek advice from them before setting off,’ he added.
Katie and Taine are two of more than 1,300 RNLI lifeguards who are patrolling 240 beaches across the UK and Channel Islands this summer. Katie, 18, is on her second season with the RNLI but for Taine, 16, it was his first rescue in what is his first season with the RNLI.
Last year RNLI lifeguards attended 17,414 incidents, helped 20,538 people and saved 127 lives.
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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 237 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 180 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.
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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 over 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.