Mum of tragic teen lights up lifesaving illumination at Blackpool RNLI
Beckie Ramsay, (BEM), mum of Dylan, 13, who tragically drowned whilst swimming in a Lancashire quarry will switched on an illumination at Blackpool Lifeboat Station projecting lifesaving advice on to the busy promenade
Beckie Ramsay, (BEM), mum of Dylan, 13, who tragically drowned whilst swimming in a Lancashire quarry will switch on an illumination at Blackpool Lifeboat Station projecting lifesaving advice on to the busy promenade. The project is part of the RNLI’s Respect the Water campaign. The message displayed on the roof of the boathouse encourages anyone who finds themselves in cold water to fight their instinct to thrash about and panic and simply ‘Float to Live’.
Dylan died in 2011 whilst swimming at Hill Top Quarry in Whittle-le-Woods, near Chorley. Since his death Beckie has been working tirelessly to raise awareness of the dangers of the water, to ensure Dylan’s death has not been in vain. Beckie has set up social media campaign Doing it for Dylan to raise awareness of the dangers of open water swimming.
'Dylan was far too precious for his life to have been in vain and for nothing good to come out of losing him. I’ll do all I can to raise awareness of the dangers of drowning and am privileged to be turning on this illumination which will be visible to so many people in such a prominent location. People are still not realising the dangers of the water, whether it’s swimming in lakes reservoirs, rivers or in the sea, it makes no difference. During the summer, the water looks so inviting, but they need to be aware of the risks.
‘I hope people walking along the promenade will take note of the illumination and the RNLI’s Respect the Water message will stay with them should they ever get into trouble. This is a really great way to get important lifesaving information out there and I’m thrilled to be part of it.’
RNLI data indicates Blackpool is a key area for the charity to focus its prevention and education activity. The volunteer crew respond to high numbers of incidents, many of them serious or life-threatening, resulting from people entering the water unexpectedly while walking, getting cut off by the tide or getting into difficulty while swimming or playing in the water.
Keith Horrocks, Blackpool RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager says:
‘The prominent location of the lifeboat station on the promenade on Central Beach means the station has a huge number of visitors and millions of people visit the promenade each year, especially during the illuminations. We hope the illumination will catch people’s imagination and remind them of the lifesaving Float to Live message.’
Last year, 90% of those that died at the coast were male – a worrying trend that continues. Already this summer during the continued hot weather a number of men have died both inland and around the coast.
But the skill of floating is helping to save lives. Already 12 people have said the Float to Live advice from the charity’s Respect the Water campaign helped them survive potential drowning. The advice is:
If you find yourself in trouble in cold water, fight your instinct to swim hard and panic, which can lead to breathing in water and drowning. Instead FLOAT on your back until you have regained control of your breathing.
Last year, almost 30% of coastal deaths in the UK took place in July and August alone. In the same months RNLI volunteer crews and lifeguards rescued over 26,000 people around the UK and Ireland, preventing many more potential fatalities.
In the north west, coastal fatality figures show seven people lost their lives on the coast in 2018 over 70% of whom were male. The 2018 figures are identical to 2017, with statistics showing similar gender divides back to 2014.
Over half of those who sadly lost their lives did not intend to enter the water (57%). Activities such as running or walking or some waterside activity or in water play are contributing to people losing their lives.
Chris Cousens, RNLI Community Safety Partner for the north west says:
‘No one should have to lose someone they love to drowning and we are so grateful to Beckie for launching our illumination in Blackpool. Her strength and desire to help others by spreading water safety messages is inspiring. Although Dylan sadly lost his life swimming in a reservoir rather than the coast, the RNLI advice to practice the Float technique is still relevant should you find yourself in cold water inland or on the coast.
Chris continues: ‘A worrying trend shows men make up most of the fatalities at the coast every year; last year five males lost their lives off the north west coast. Knowing what to do if you fall into cold water can be the difference between life and death. For more information on our Float to Live message please visit www.rnli.org/RTWBlackpool.’
What to do to keep safe at the coast
The natural reaction on immersion in cold water can be to panic and thrash around, which increases the chances of breathing in water and drowning. The best thing to do in this situation is FLOAT on your back, keeping your airway clear until you can control your breathing. You can then plan your next move to safety.
If you do see a friend in trouble in the water at the coast, fight your instinctive reaction to go in after them, as this puts you at risk of getting in trouble yourself. The best way to help is to call 999 or 112 immediately and ask for the Coastguard. You can try to find something that floats and throw it towards them or tell them to FLOAT on their back until help arrives.
Anyone planning a trip to the beach is advised by the RNLI to choose a lifeguarded beach and swim between the red and yellow flags, which is the area most closely monitored by the lifeguards.
For more advice on how to float visit RespectTheWater.com. On social media search #FloatToLive #RespectTheWater.
The Respect the Water campaign will run throughout the summer with advertising across cinema, outdoor posters, radio, online, and catch-up TV channels.
Notes to Editors
Media Opportunity: Beckie Ramsay, (BEM), who tragically lost her son Dylan to drowning will switch on the RNLI’s ‘Respect The Water’ illumination.
When: Monday, 12 August 11.30am
Where: Blackpool Lifeboat Station, Central Promenade, Blackpool FY1 5JA
NOTE: As the illumination will not be visual until the evening (Saturday 10 August) the RNLI will capture images and footage of the switch on and make them available to the media prior to the media opportunity. On Monday, interviews will be available with RNLI spokespeople and with Beckie Ramsay. Please confirm your attendance by contacting Danielle Rush on the numbers below. Professional images and film footage of Beckie switching on the illumination can be downloaded here: https://rnli.org/news-and-media on Monday 12 August 00.01.
For more information, or for interview/picture/footage requests, contact Danielle Rush, RNLI Media Relations Manager in Wales and the north west on 01745 585162 or 07786 668829. Alternatively, please contact the RNLI Press Office on 01202 336789.
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 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.