Big rise in call outs to people cut off by tide for Southend-on-Sea RNLI

Lifeboats News Release

Southend-on-Sea RNLI volunteer lifeboat crew recovered 12 casualties cut off by the rising tide on Saturday evening last (1 August).

At 6.45pm on Saturday, the volunteer crew of Southend-on-Sea RNLI were paged to reports of people struggling to get to the shore against the incoming tide. With the increasing temperatures and summer weather, these types of calls are becoming more common for Southend-on-Sea RNLI.

The inshore D-Class lifeboat was launched to an initial tasking of four people who were waist deep in water, around half a mile from shore. The crew were on scene in around three minutes from launching from the pier head. All four people were taken onboard and the lifeboat and began to make way to safely return them to shore. The casualties had sustained cuts to their feet through walking on the mudflats which contain shells and can quite easily cut peoples feet when they’re unable to see the ground they’re walking on. Whilst making way to the shore, the crew noticed two other people struggling in the water with the rising tide and so they were also brought aboard and returned to safety.

Once the casualties had been landed safely ashore the coastguard radioed the crew with a tasking to another report of people unable to make their way ashore due to cut feet, located west of Southend Pier. Once on scene it became apparent there were three groups in the same situation. All casualties were taken onboard, totalling another six people and returned to the inshore boathouse for safety advice and any first aid required for the cut feet.

The hovercraft had also been tasked earlier in the evening at 6.17pm to reports of two teenagers who had been canoeing and were overdue for return. They were happily located and escorted inshore by the hovercraft crew, before the coastguard re-tasked the crew with a further five people cut off by the tide. Upon arrival on scene in Thorpe Bay the reported people had made it safely to shore.

The various requests making for a busy evening for the crew. A spokesperson for Southend-on-Sea RNLI said ‘With increasing numbers of people visiting the shore this weekend, we’d strongly recommend that anyone visiting a beach takes extra care. Make sure to check on weather conditions and tide time-tables as Southend has a large tidal range and poses a serious threat to people being cut off by the tide. Although we would recommend against walking out on the mud flats, if people cannot resist, it is also worth considering appropriate foot wear to protect your feet from oyster beds and other hidden sharp objects.

'If you do see anyone who may be in trouble, don’t hesitate to call 999 and ask for the Coastguard.’


RNLI/Jack Lidster-Woolf

RNLI/Jack Lidster-Woolf

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.

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.