With the countdown to the big switch on underway, the lifesaving charity is calling on those planning to visit the annual light spectacle to look on the roof of Blackpool Lifeboat Station – and view the projection which could potentially save lives.
RNLI data indicates that Blackpool is a key area for the charity to focus its prevention and education activity, as the volunteer crew respond to high numbers of incidents. As part of an innovative project to raise awareness about water safety, the projection will display lifesaving advice on to the roof of Blackpool Lifeboat Station.
The illumination is part of the RNLI’s Respect The Water campaign and encourages those who are in trouble in cold water to fight their instincts and Float to Live.
Chris Cousens, RNLI Community Safety Partner for the North West, says:
‘The Blackpool Illuminations are quite the spectacle, but the RNLI projection on the roof of Blackpool Lifeboat Station could potentially save lives. With an increased number of visitors in Blackpool over the coming weeks, we’re calling on locals and visitors to view the RNLI’s illumination, which encourages anyone in trouble in the water to fight their instinct and float on their backs. We’re hopeful this message will stay with people should they ever find themselves in cold water unexpectedly, as it has proven effective in savings lives’.
The RNLI Respect the Water illumination was initially turned on by Beckie Ramsay, the mother of Dylan, 13, who tragically drowned whilst swimming in a Lancashire quarry. Beckie works tirelessly to raise awareness of the dangers of the water, to ensure Dylan’s death has not been in vain.
Beckie says: ‘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.’
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.
• If you do see a friend in trouble in the water at the coast, fight your instinctive reaction to go in after them, as 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.
The Blackpool Illuminations' big switch on is due to take place on Friday 30 August, with 10 kilometres and over one million bulbs worth of lighting. If you're visiting Blackpool, make sure to check out the projection on the roof of Blackpool Lifeboat Station.
RNLI media contacts:
Katie Lewis, Media Engagement Placement, Wales and West at firstname.lastname@example.org or alternatively Danielle Rush, Regional Media Manager, at email@example.com or on 07786668829
Notes to Editors:
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.
Learn more about the RNLI
For more information please visit the RNLI website or Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. News releases, videos and photos are available on the News Centre.
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.