RNLI lifeguards complete mass rescue at Fistral Beach
Fistral RNLI lifeguards completed a mass rescue Saturday afternoon (30 June) as surfers, swimmers and body boarders were caught in a sudden rip current.
Lifeguards were patrolling the water off Fistral beach using a jet ski and rescue board when a sudden rip current opened up on the northern side of the red and yellow flags. 16 surfers, body boarders and swimmers were trapped in the rip current and were being pushed out to sea.
As the lifeguards were already in the water, they were able to respond as soon as they saw the strong current open up. RNLI lifeguard supervisor Nathan Wilmer and colleague Jack Daniels used their rescue boards as flotation devices and helped swimmers hang onto the rescue boards as well as assisting body boarders hanging onto their own boards.
RNLI lifeguard Sam Harwood then used the Jet Ski to transport the casualties out of the dangerous current and back to shore.
‘All together, the lifeguards rescued eight casualties and assisted a further eight. This was a sudden issue but thankfully we had prepared for this situation and worked really well as a team. To guarantee the safety of everyone in the water throughout the day the decision was made to extend the patrol of the beach until 7pm.’
Earlier in the day, RNLI lifeguard Theresa Morokutti rescued four children and a teenager also caught in a rip current. In the UK, the majority of RNLI lifeguard incidents involve rip currents. The RNLI advises beachgoers to visit a lifeguarded beach and to always swim between the red and yellow flags as they mark the safest areas in the water.
‘We want people to enjoy their time at the beach but to also respect the water. Rip currents occur very suddenly and are very dangerous. During this rescue we were using the PA system on our lifeguard truck to broadcast safety advice and reassure those caught in the current. We ask people to always listen to the lifeguards’ advice. Please keep an ear out for any broadcasts over the PA system and keep an eye on the flags whilst in the water.’
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, in a normal year, 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.