RNLI lifeguards save three lives at Perranporth beach over the weekend

Lifeguards News Release

Perranporth RNLI lifeguards responded to two dramatic incidents in challenging sea conditions over the weekend. Friday afternoon (3 July) saw a kayaker get into extreme difficulty between Perranporth and Perran Sands beach and on Sunday (5 July) a father and son were pulled from a strong rip current

RNLI/Ben Gardiner

RNLI lifeguards on patrol at Perranporth beach

RNLI lifeguards at Perranporth beach were alerted to an incident on Friday at 5pm involving a kayaker capsizing in rough sea conditions. The strong westerly wind and building swell accelerated the kayaker towards the cliffs heading across to neighbouring Perran Sands beach.

Perranporth RNLI lifeguards, Sam Chamberlain and Will McRitchie immediately launched the in-shore rescue boat (IRB). The current was very strong and by the time the lifeguards had launched, the kayaker had been dragged onto the rocks. Senior lifeguard, Sam Chamberlain, carried out a dynamic risk assessment and established that it was too dangerous take the IRB towards the cliff so it was decided that Will could swim approximately 150 metres into the kayaker. Once Will had negotiated the large swell and back wash from the cliffs to get to the kayaker, he secured him with the rescue tube and assisted him out of the water and across the rocks towards a small path leading up the cliff face.

Meanwhile, Sam at the helm of the IRB, requested backup from Perranporth rescue water craft (RWC). Whilst the casualty was secure on the path, Will attempted to retrieve the kayak but suddenly slipped and fell down the slope. Will was luckily uninjured but it meant they had to give up on the retrieval of the kayak.

Will and the kayaker made it back to safety on Perranporth beach by foot where they assessed him for injuries. The kayaker was uninjured but a little shocked at the event.

RNLI lifeguard supervisor, Drustan Ward says, ‘This was a high risk rescue with an already large and growing swell crashing against the cliffs. It took extraordinary courage for Will to volunteer to swim from the IRB across the cliff line to save the kayaker from further danger. All of the lifeguards showed true bravery and selflessness and worked extremely well together.’

On Sunday lunchtime, RNLI lifeguards were alerted to an incident in conditions that were described as like a ‘washing machine’ with 6ft waves and a strong onshore wind. Perranporth lifeguards were constantly using the PA system to direct bathers to stay between the red and yellow flags and keep close to the shore.

A father and his young son were playing in the broken waves when a strong current swept them off their feet and beyond the sand bank. They were both dragged out of their depth and the young boy was shouting to his father for help. Perranporth RNLI lifeguards Rob Nunn and Harvey Bailey-Skinner immediately grabbed their rescue boards and hurriedly paddled out to the father and son. As they approached the duo, they asked them to hold on to the back of the rescue board so they had a floatation device to keep their head above the water.

A local surf instructor also assisted with the incident and then a third lifeguard, Charlie Flaury, paddled out to help them all return to shore safely. The young boy appeared very panicked and distressed but as soon as he was brought back to shore, he calmed down and the father thanked them all for their courageous rescue.

RNLI lifeguard supervisor, Ben Gardener says, ‘This was a great rescue which involved half of the team and they all worked so well together. I’d like to remind bathers who are less experienced in the water to keep their feet on the sand and not go out of their depth.

Ben adds, ‘If you do get into difficulty, wave one arm high in the air, shout for help and keep hold of your floatation device if you have one.’

Anyone planning a visit to the coast should remember and follow RNLI safety advice:

  • Have a plan – check the weather forecast, tide times and read local hazard signage
  • Keep a close eye on your family – on the beach and in the water
  • Do not allow your family to swim or surf alone
  • Do not use inflatables
  • If you fall into the water unexpectedly, FLOAT TO LIVE, fight your instinct to thrash around, lean back, extend your arms and legs, and FLOAT
  • In an emergency dial 999 and ask for the Coastguard

Notes to Editors

· Please find attached an image of the RNLI lifeguards on patrol on Perranporth beach

· Follow the link to see which beaches are currently lifeguarded https://rnli.org/find-my-nearest/beaches-with-lifeguards-on-patrol

· To support the RNLI’s lifesavers, go to: www.rnli.org/donate

Media contacts
For more information please contact Becky Bright, Media Engagement Placement on [email protected] or Amy Caldwell, Regional Media Manager, on [email protected] or 07920818807 or RNLI Press Office on 01202 336789 or via [email protected] .

RNLI/Ben Gardiner

RNLI lifeguards patrolling Perranporth beach

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.