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Inquest into deaths at Camber Sands results in seven verdicts of misadventure

Lifeboats News Release

The Coroner investigating the deaths of seven people at Camber Sands beach in 2016 has recorded a verdict of misadventure for all seven cases

Representatives from the Royal National Lifeboat Institution gave evidence during the five-day inquest, which was held by Coroner Alan Craze in Hastings, East Sussex.

Following the verdict, Darren Lewis, Lifesaving Manager for the Royal National Lifeboat Institution, said:

'The events at Camber Sands last July and August were very tragic. Our thoughts remain with the families and friends of the seven men who sadly lost their lives.

'As a charity with a focus on saving lives at sea and preventing drowning, we have a strategic aim to halve accidental coastal drownings by 50% by 2024. We are pleased to see the Coroner has recognised the importance of beach safety and the need to focus on collaborative working to do more to raise people’s awareness of water safety and to ensure all appropriate safety measures are in place.

'Sadly we cannot guarantee a tragedy like this will never happen again. We are more than happy to give advice and make recommendations concerning beach safety matters from signage to a lifeguard service. It is then up to others to decide if our recommendations are implemented.

'There is currently no statutory requirement for local authorities and landowners to provide lifeguards. We therefore welcome the Coroner’s decision to write to central Government with his recommendations.

'We have been providing advice for Rother District Council over the last few years and this summer we have provided a seasonal lifeguard service at Camber Sands. Our highly trained lifeguards are working alongside the current council beach safety patrol team to talk to beach visitors in an attempt to prevent incidents like this from happening again. This is just one of over 240 RNLI lifeguarded beaches in the UK and Ireland and we will continue to work with our partners including those involved with the National Water Safety Forum to reach as many people as we can in order to prevent drowning and emphasise the message to respect the water.

'For anyone wanting to learn more about how they can keep themselves safe when visiting the beach please visit www.respectthewater.com '

AN AUDIO VERSION OF THIS COMMENT FROM DARREN LEWIS IS AVAILABLE IN VARIOUS FORMATS FOR MEDIA TO USE. TO DOWNLOAD THE AUDIO PLEASE USE THE FOLLOWING LINKS:

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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.

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