Portishead RNLI issue safety advice as schools break for summer holidays

Lifeboats News Release

The RNLI in Portishead stepped up their Float To Live campaign last week in attempts to deter school children from jumping in to the Marina and off of the Pier by the lifeboat station as schools break for the summer holidays

During their normal training session last Tuesday evening (16th) crew members went to warn 6 children who were spotted on the Pier, of the dangers of being there. The Pier, which is used regularly by local fishermen, is not deemed a safe place to play or gather.

A spokesperson for the RNLI said, ‘Please can you warn your children, family members and friends of the dangers of jumping in to the Marina and off of the Pier here in Portishead. Especially now as the schools have broken up for their summer holidays, we want to avoid any potential incidents.’

The water temperature is cold on average it is 12 degrees this time of year, any temperature below 15 degrees can trigger cold water shock. The water may look inviting particularly with the warm weather we are having, but you could soon be in serious difficulty.
Not only can you not see what is beneath the surface of the water and what you could be jumping on to, you cannot get out of the sea easily and the deep sinking mud will cause you another problem if you manage to get to the shore.
We have the second highest tidal range in the world here in Portishead which can rise and fall during one tide cycle up to 15 meters. That means our extremely strong and powerful tidal current can pull you very quickly in to the shipping channel and to real danger. Ships are so big they cannot see your small head whilst they are travelling at speed through the water.

Cold water shock can kill you, it will take your breath and make you to panic causing uncontrollable gasping and causing you to taking in water and drown.

This is how to #FloatToLive

Lean back, extend your arms and legs.

If you need to, gently move your arms and legs to help you float.

Float until you can control your breathing.

Only then call for help or swim to safety.

Clothes can help with buoyancy – during the first moments in water air is trapped between the layers. Moving less helps the air stay trapped, helping you float.

Floating is not always something people are confident they can do, but most people can float.

Practice floating in a safe environment like a swimming pool.

During the same training session last week, the volunteer crew were asked by the Coastguards to go and investigate a report that had come through from a concerned member of the public. The person had spotted a group of children in the water just off of Battery Point, the most dangerous part of our stretch of water, due to the speed of the flow of water there. Once the crew were able to communicate with them they managed to make their way to the shore safely.

We urge you to enjoy the coast but make sure you take precautions, always carry a means of calling for help and if you want to swim please be safe and join a local wild water swimming club, or go and visit our amazing community ran open air pool or find your nearest Lifeguarded Beach.

Watch 17yrs old Evan’s story on this link to see how the Float To Live saved his life:

https://rnli.org/safety/respect-the-water/why-i-respect-the-water/evan-survived-a-rip-current

If you see someone in trouble call 999 and ask for the Coastguard. #FloatToLive #RespectTheWater #SavingLivesAtSea

Notes to editors

Images are all ©RNLI

1 Float To Live

2 New safety sign showing the warnings on the Pier in Portishead

3 Evan Chrisp , Float To Live saved his life

4 Evan and his father Simon

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For more information please telephone Helen Lazenby, RNLI volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer on 07800 595 995 or contact the RNLI Press Office on 01202 336789.

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For more information on the RNLI please visit rnli.org. News releases and other media resources, including RSS feeds, downloadable photos and video, are available at the RNLI News Centre rnli.org/news-and-media.

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 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 142,200 lives.

The Float To Live Campaign

RNLI/Helen Lazenby

The Float To Live Campaign
The new safety sign on Portishead Pier

RNLI/Helen Lazenby

The new safety sign on Portishead Pier
Evan Chrisp - saved by the float to live campaign

RNLI/Nathan Williams

Evan Chrisp - saved by the float to live campaign
Evan and his father Simon

RNLI/Nathan Williams

Evan and his father Simon

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 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 or by email.