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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 '





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