Swift action and clear calm thinking saves lives on the beach at St Leonards
RNLI Lifeguards patrol our beaches and are highly trained but it is the anticipation of what comes next in a scenario that often saves lives.
Joel, RNLI lifeguard on duty at Marina, St Leonards on Sunday 26 July 2020, was patrolling the beach with a lifesaving tube as the waves were quite choppy and weather was blowy and overcast.
He spotted two swimmers who were being pushed eastwards and were trying to swim against the west-east current, which is tiring. He was aware that his fellow lifeguard was out patrolling the sea on his board so he radioed him and requested that he check on their welfare. By the time Ryan reached them it was clear that they were exhausted and were in danger of being swept into the rocks east of the zone.
Joel radioed base to let them know he was going in with his rescue tube and then swam out to Ryan who had them both holding onto his board. He told one of the swimmers to take hold of the rescue tube and indicated that they were going to swim through the gap in the rocks one beach down and that this would lead them to safety.
Ryan got the other casualty to mount the board and paddled her eastward, following Joel through the gap further down the shoreline. Both casualties and lifeguards left the water through the planned exit and returned to the safety of the beach with no injuries to either party.
The RNLI advises swimmers to use a lifeguarded beach and this story shows that the quick thinking and high quality RNLI training certainly saves 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, in a normal year, 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.