RNLI Lifeguard Rescues Child Caught in Rip tide at Coldingham Bay.
RNLI lifeguard, Katie Walker, jumped into action when she caught sight of a young child swimming outside of the safe swim area, marked by red an yellow flags, at Coldingham Bay last Friday, 6 August.
The young girl had been enjoying a swim with family and friends when she became caught in a strong rip current that began pulling her away from the beach. Recognising the immediate danger, and with the girl beginning to panic, Katie quickly gathered her rescue board and broke through the surf to reach her some 50 metres from the beach.
A nearby swimmer, who had also spotted the escalating situation, shouted over instructing the child to remain calm and float on her back. This reassured her enough that she was able to calm down and await lifeguard, Katie, who safely brought her back to shore on the rescue board.
Recalling the incident, RNLI lifeguard, Katie said:
‘We are really grateful that a nearby swimmer was able to reassure the young girl by calling out the right instructions. The RNLI’s ‘Float to Live’ message is designed to help someone stay calm and use their natural buoyancy until either help arrives, or they are able to swim to safety themselves. The parents also did the right thing by waiting on the beach in what must have been a very stressful situation. As lifeguards we have the equipment and training to help someone in danger. It is very often the case that a second person entering the water also becomes a casualty themselves.’
Rip tides are dangerous currents that are often found on beaches where there is moderate to heavy surf. Water rushes back out to sea between the surf creating a strong current that can flow as fast as an Olympic swimmer. If you get into difficulty in a rip current you should try not to panic and swim parallel to the beach until you are out of the current and able to head for shore.
If you spot someone in difficulty in the water you should not enter the water yourself. Dial 999 and ask for the Coastguard and try to reassure the casualty by calling out to them and informing them to stay calm and float on their back.
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.