RNLI lifeguards urge people to respect the water after multiple mass rescues

Lifeguards News Release

RNLI lifeguards in Cornwall and Devon completed several mass rescues on Monday (13 August) in rough sea conditions, which led to a number of beaches in the region being red flagged for people’s safety.


Croyde RNLI lifeguards

RNLI lifeguards at Porthtowan rescued 20 people after the combination of a flooding spring tide and big surf caused a sudden rip current. RNLI lifeguards Deshko Matthews, Emily Trestrail, Rhys Lloyd, Becky Brook, Owen Davey, Taylor Prisk and Georgia Maughn immediately entered the water and used rescue boards and rescue fins to assist all 20 casualties back to shore.

Ex-RNLI lifeguard Jamie Ward quickly realised the danger of the situation and used the lifeguard’s PA system to communicate to and reassure beach goers.

The decision was made to red flag the beach around 2pm for the remainder of the day due to the conditions and the lifeguards on duty explained to beach goers the dangers of the conditions.

Later in the day, two body surfers did not heed the lifeguards’ warning and entered the water. The lifeguards on duty kept an eye on them as they swam out from the shore, where they were quickly buffeted around by the strong surf. The lifeguards immediately responded using the inshore rescue boat (IRB) and rescue boards and assisted the casualties back to shore.

There were similar conditions at nearby Perran Sands beach. RNLI lifeguards Rachel Crabb, Max Lawrence and Samson Tellam were on patrol at the water’s edge when they noticed two young girls become caught in a sudden rip current.

Samson immediately paddled over to them using a rescue board and reached them when they were around 25m out to sea. Samson helped the girls stay afloat until Rachel and Max reached them in the IRB by which time they had drifted another 50m out to sea due to the strength of the rip current. The lifeguards then helped the two girls into the IRB and back to shore. See the rescue here.

The bad conditions along with multiple casualty care incidents on the beach meant that RNLI lifeguards at Perran Sands and neighbouring Perranporth red flagged the beach from around 2pm until 4.30pm Monday afternoon.

RNLI lifeguards at Croyde in Devon also rescued 12 people and assisted a further six in an hour on Monday afternoon. The RNLI lifeguards on duty had been keeping an eye on the building swell throughout the morning when they spotted the group get into trouble at around 12pm.

The whole team was mobilised to assist in the rescue. Ollie Wright and Sam Hayes used the jet ski (RWC) and rescue boards, Michael Taylor, Sean Deasy and volunteer RNLI lifeguard Kane Shaw used rescue tubes and Josh Simpson used a rescue board to bring all twelve casualties caught in the rip back to shore safely. A further six casualties were also assisted during this rescue.

At around 2pm the decision was made to display the red flags to prohibit people entering the water at Croyde due to the worsening conditions.

The bad conditions also led to a number of rescues at Treyarnon and Constantine beaches at the start of the week. Two bodyboarders at Treyarnon were being pulled out of their depth toward rocks when they were assisted by RNLI lifeguards Issy Barnes and Jordan Dean – watch it here. At Constantine, RNLI lifeguard Joe Jones helped an exhausted young girl back to shore again having been caught in a rip current – see the rescue here.

Steve Instance, RNLI Community Safety Partner, said:

‘Having had the beautiful weather and very calm seas over the last couple of months, the change in sea conditions has caught people unawares along the north coast. We do not take the decision to display the red flags lightly but conditions on the day meant this was the only option for people’s safety.

‘If you are visiting the coast we urge you to always come to a lifeguarded beach and remember to keep an eye on the flags as weather and tide conditions can easily and quickly change. The lifeguards on duty are experienced, extremely well-trained and familiar with their local area so please listen to the advice they give.’

Notes to Editor

  • RNLI lifeguards patrol over 249 beaches around the UK and Channel Islands

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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 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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