St. Agnes RNLI Lifeboat launches to the aid of two swimmers in difficulty.

Lifeboats News Release

Two teenage swimmers found themselves being pulled out to sea and overwhelmed by large seas this afternoon in the Trevaunance Cove area of St. Agnes.

St Agnes inshore lifeboat on a training exercise


St Agnes inshore lifeboat on a training exercise
The two teenagers, in wetsuits had gone into the water, swimming. It became apparent to onlookers that they were drifting out to sea and rapidly becoming exhausted an overwhelmed by the large swells and cold water.

Off duty RNLI Manager Steve Instance, who is the South West's Community Safety Partner, as well as being a qualified lifeguard and shore crew at St Agnes, had been swimming on the beach earlier with his eleven year old daughter Brooke and they were warming up in the clubhouse of the St Agnes Surf Lifesaving Club.

Brooke, who joined the club when she was seven, was looking out of the window and spotting the teenagers in difficulty alerted her dad, who rang 999 to get the lifeboat launched and then grabbed a lifeboard from the club and dived into the sea to paddle out to the boys in large seas to keep them afloat.

'When I got out to them they were very cold and very tired and one of them was quite panicky,' said Steve, who could see one of them signaling for help as he took to the water. 'It would have been tricky for them to get back onto the shore with the surf conditions, so we needed the lifeboat to get them back safely'.

At 3.02pm the lifeboat crew were paged and they rapidly assembled launching the D class lifeboat into a large shore breaking sea at high tide in an attempt to assist Steve with the rescue of the two casualties. The St Agnes Coastguard cliff rescue team were also on the scene.

With tremendous skill by Helm Gavin Forehead, Crew Joe Daysh and Beth Simons, ably assisted by the Shore Crew, the lifeboat was successfully launched, head on into a very large, shore breaking set of swells.

The lifeboat proceeded out to the location of Steve and the two casualties, which was only a few hundred yards out. The casualties were pulled onboard the lifeboat and brought safely back to shore. Thankfully, due to the professional and rapid actions of Steve, Brooke and the speedy launch of the St. Agnes lifeboat, nobody was injured in the incident.

The Lifeboat was rehoused and made ready for service.

Following the incident Steve Instance praised his daughter, who is a junior member of the St Agnes Surf Lifesaving Club, for her fast reactions:

'I was busy making a cup of tea and she immediately recognised there was a problem,' said Steve. 'Her training at the club just clicked in and she gave me the exact information I needed and pointed out where the boys were. She did a cracking job, she did the right thing at the right time, I'm very proud of her'.

In the UK, the majority of RNLI Lifeguard incidents involve rip currents. They are a major cause of accidental drowning on beaches all across the world.

Rips are strong currents running out to sea, which can quickly drag people and debris away from the shallows of the shoreline and out to deeper water.

They tend to flow at 1–2mph but can reach 4–5mph, which is faster than an Olympic swimmer.

Rips are especially powerful in larger surf, but never underestimate the power of any water. They are also found around river mouths, estuaries and man-made structures like piers and groynes.

Fore more information use the following link for the RNLI website:

RNLI Media Contacts:

St Agnes Lifeboat Station Lifeboat Press Officer Paul Kimberley (07976) 737761

Carrie Garrad, RNLI Regional Media Officer, South West, (07786) 668847

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.

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Contacting the RNLI - public enquiries

Members of the public may contact the RNLI on 0300 300 9990 (UK) or 1800 991802 (Ireland) or by email.