View as PDF

Emergency services join forces to offer waterside responder training

Lifeboats News Release

The RNLI is joining forces with North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service and the York Rescue Boat to offer potentially lifesaving water safety and rescue training to staff at establishments along the River Ouse in York.

Volunteers undergo training in using a potentially lifesvaing throw bag.

RNLI/Nathan Williams

Volunteers undergo training in using a potentially lifesvaing throw bag.

The initiative comes from the York Water Safety Forum and follows a summer which has seen five people lose their lives and three more require rescue by emergency services in just six months.


Staff from pubs, clubs and restaurants in the area are being offered training on the dangers that cold water poses to their customers and provide them with the knowledge and equipment to help rescue people safely.


They will learn how to use a throw bag and what to do when people get into distress in or near the water. The potentially lifesaving throw bags, a 20m floating line used to pull a casualty to safety, can be supplied to venues at key locations along the River Ouse.


In recent months, the RNLI has been running ‘train the trainer’ sessions with members of North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service and the York Rescue Boat as part of its Waterside Community Responder scheme.


Nick Ayers, RNLI Community Safety Partner, said: ‘‘Research shows that a significant proportion of drownings involve people visiting pubs and bars near water and then getting into distress. It could be someone taking a seemingly innocent swim and suffering cold water shock, or it could be through an accident where someone never intended to be in the water.’


‘Staff at these venues will be our advocates on the waterside. They are the ones most likely to be there at times where risk is most prevalent. The idea behind training staff or volunteers at pubs bars and restaurants is they will be able to encourage good behaviours in that environment by giving the public knowledge and advice, and they will ultimately know what to do if someone did enter the water.’


Station Manager Bob Hoskins from North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service said: ‘This scheme will allow a swift response from local establishments on the riverside to try and assist and rescue people who end up in the water until the emergency services can arrive. The issue is not limited to the warm summer months with incidents occurring all year around which highlights the need for a scheme such as this. The York Water Safety Forum will continue to work in partnership to reduce incidents on the Ouse and Foss’.


RNLI Media contacts

For more information, please contact:

Jim Rice, RNLI Regional Media Manager, on 01362 850076 / jim_rice@rnli.org.uk or:

Clare Hopps, RNLI Regional Media Officer, on 07824 518641 / Clare_Hopps@rnli.org.uk

or contact the RNLI Press Office on 01202 336789.

RNLI online

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 142,700 lives.


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.