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RNLI lifeguards rescue 18-year-old off Sunderland coast

Lifeguards News Release

Seaburn and Roker lifeguards worked together to rescue a young man in struggling to get back to shore against a strong rip current.

RNLI lifeguards of Roker Beach, James Corner and Adam Blenkinsop

RNLI/Megan McBride

RNLI lifeguards of Roker Beach, James Corner and Adam Blenkinsop, who were involved in rescue of 18-year-old male swimmer

The lifeguards noticed the man over 200 metres offshore from Seaburn Beach and immediately launched their rescue board and Jet Ski. At the same time, a member of the public raised the alarm to a nearby RNLI lifeguard at the north end of the beach, who then swam out to assist the young swimmer.

The 18-year-old had become caught in a strong rip current after swimming outside of the red and yellow flags on the beach, which are marked based on where is safer to swim in the current conditions. He remembered the advice from the RNLI ‘Float to Live’ campaign and was able to stay afloat until he could be rescued. The swimmer was treated for cold water shock by the first-aid trained lifeguards.

RNLI Lifeguard Supervisor, Alex Richardson, said: ‘Rip currents are a major cause of accidental drowning in the UK. We urge those spending time on the beach this summer to visit a lifeguarded beach and always swim between the red and yellow flags, this way our lifeguards can quickly identify anyone in trouble in the water and be on hand to help.’

Rips are strong currents running out to sea, which can quickly drag people away from the shallows of the shoreline and out to deeper water. Rip currents can be difficult to spot, but are sometimes identified by a channel of churning, choppy water on the sea's surface.

If you get caught in a rip current, the RNLI’s advice is to:

· Stay calm

· Float on your back to regulate your breathing until you can swim to shore or call for help

· If you can stand, wade, don’t swim

· Keep hold of your board or inflatable to help you float

· Raise your hand and shout for help

· Never try to swim directly against the rip or you'll get exhausted

· Swim parallel to the beach until free of the rip, then make for shore

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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 238 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 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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