RNLI and National Maritime Museum Cornwall open a new Rescue Zone exhibition

Lifeguards News Release

The RNLI and the National Maritime Museum Cornwall have launched a new partnership with the installation of an interactive, family-focussed lifeguard and beach safety exhibition called Rescue Zone.

Will Dax

Rae Murphy and Martin Gregory opening the exhibition

The exhibition celebrates the work of the charity’s lifeguards with the opportunity to get up close to the rescue equipment the lifesaving teams use on the beach. Visitors can dress up as an RNLI lifeguard and learn more about their safety and prevention work through fun, interactive games and displays aimed at teaching and testing players on their beach safety knowledge.

For the first time, visitors can climb aboard a Rescue Water Craft, on top of a lifeguard quad bike and inside a Inshore Rescue Boat (IRB), putting on a buoyancy aid and taking the helm to imagine themselves punching through the surf to reach a casualty.

Called an Arancia, these rescue boats were first designed and used for surf lifesaving in 1979 in New Zealand, light enough for two people to launch, they are also sturdy enough for use in heavy surf conditions. The IRB on display in the NMMC has its own history, the A01 was the first Arancia to be introduced to the RNLI fleet in 2001 when the charity launched their lifeguard service on 21 beaches in the south west. The A01 was put on service at Fistral beach where it was used numerous times to rescue people in the water.

The exhibition space on the ground floor of one of Cornwall’s most popular attractions was officially opened on Thursday (1 August). The ribbon was cut by 10-year-old Rae Murphy. Rae’s mum, Vicky was 35 weeks pregnant when her and her husband Marc were rescued from the incoming tide by RNLI lifeguards at Chapel Porth beach. 10 years later, they returned with Rae and her two younger brothers to Chapel Porth to thank the lifeguards. Read Vicky’s story here

Richard Doughty, Director of NMMC, started the evening by thanking everyone involved in the concept and installation of the exhibition for all their hard work in making it happen.

Martin Gregory, RNLI Council Member described how important the exhibition is for both organisations with the aim of teaching those coming through essential beach safety advice. He said;

‘This exhibition is so important in so many ways, at the forefront, it is an engaging and educational experience where groups and families can immerse themselves in the lifesaving experience and come away equipped with the information and knowledge to stay safe when visiting the beach.

The exhibition tells the story of RNLI lifeguarding and establishes the lifesaving charity within the maritime history of Cornwall, and it is a wonderful and physical representation of the partnership between NMMC and the RNLI which fits perfectly with the aims of both charitable organisations.’

Simon Sherrard, NMMC Chairman and a RNLI Vice President, says:

‘I am delighted to see the new partnership between the RNLI and National Maritime Museum Cornwall come to fruition in such an imaginative and dynamic way. National Maritime Museum Cornwall is deeply grateful to the RNLI for all their support in making the new Rescue Zone possible. We’re very much looking forward to sharing this wonderful new addition to the Museum with our visitors.’

Notes to editors

  • Please see the attached images of the Rescue Zone exhibition and opening event. Credit Will Dax

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Will Dax

Rae Murphy who opened the exhibition

Will Dax

Tristan and Dylan Murphy enjoying dressing up as lifeguards

Will Dax

Rae Murphy enjoying the exhibition

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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