Gorleston lifeboat assists lifeguards with swimmer rescue due to strong ebb tide

Lifeboats News Release

The RNLI’s inshore lifeboat at Great Yarmouth and Gorleston was tasked at 5:17pm on 20 June 2019 by UK Coastguard, to reports of a young male in difficulty off Gorleston Beach.

The Atlantic 75 Pride of Leicester quickly proceeded to the position given by the Coastguard, where on arrival an RNLI Lifeguard was on scene, keeping the casualty afloat by their rescue board.

The casualty had been swept behind a sea defence, with no easy route back to the beach. RNLI lifeguard, Neil Bryan had luckily paddled out approximately 200 metres and reached him before the situation developed into something more serious. The decision was made due to the distance to shore and the sea conditions, to wait for assistance from Gorleston Lifeboat.

The volunteer lifeboat crew working with the lifeguards transferred the casualty onto the inshore lifeboat to take the casualty back to the lifeboat station for further checks.

In the meantime the situation further developed with the casualties friend entering the water and being swept up in the same current, lifeguard Matt Black, who had put the call in the Coastguard to launch the lifeboat, launched another rescue board and reached the second casualty who was 50 metres from the shore.

The lifeguard and casualty managed to get ashore.

Liam Fayle-Parr RNLI Lifeguard supervisor said: ‘This incident shows how quickly swimmers can get into difficulty, even if the sea conditions look relatively benign, there can be unknown currents that catch people out, which is why it is so important to come to a lifeguarded beach and swim between the lifeguards Red and Yellow flags.'

Luckily for the two swimmers they were on a lifeguarded beach and praise goes to the lifeguards, Neil and Matt on their quick thinking and composure and managing the incident and requesting the assistance of Gorleston lifeboat who took over the care of the casualty.

One of the casualties went to hospital for further medical attention.

A spokesperson for the RNLI said: ‘We earlier on this year launched our Respect the Water campaign which is to prevent drowning, we have done this by highlighting the risks and how to avoid them and giving advice to keep you and those around you safe. It is worth remembering to fight your instinct, not the water.

'Around 190 people lose their lives at the UK and Irish coasts each year, and over half never even planned to enter the water.

This year, Respect the Water will focus on simple skills that could save a life:

1. If you find yourself unexpectedly in the water, float to increase your chances of survival.

2. If you see someone else in trouble in the water, call 999 or 112 and ask for the Coastguard.

'Coldwater shock is triggered in water temperatures lower than 15⁰C – the average temperature of UK and Irish waters is 12⁰C. So even in the Summer, the water temperature is cold enough to cause cold water shock, which can steal the air from your lungs and leave you helpless in seconds.

Rip currents can travel up to the same speed as an Olympic swimmer (4.5mph) and can pull even the strongest swimmers out to sea. And unexpected waves can quickly knock people off their feet.’

RNLI media contacts

For more information please telephone Kimberley Platford, RNLI volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer and Crew on 07907360588, [email protected] or Jim Rice,RNLI Regional Media Manager (North East & East) on 07810658072 or [email protected] or Clare Hopps, Regional Media Officer (North East and East) on 07824518641 or [email protected] or 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.

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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.