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RNLI Sandhaven lifeguards team up with Surf School to rescue surfer

Lifeguards News Release

The RNLI Sandhaven (Mowbray) lifeguards assisted two instructors from South Shields Surf School in the rescue of a man swept out to sea on Saturday 31st July.

A yellow surf board is placed on the beach, it has the word lifeguards on it as well as the RNLI symbol.

RNLI/Derry Salter

RNLI Lifeguard Rescue Board

After a fairly windy and misty morning, the RNLI team at Sandhaven (Mowbray) decided to put up the red wind sock to alert swimmers of the poor weather conditions.

At around 1:50pm, a 40-year-old man rented a surfboard from South Shields Surf School and began swimming next to Trow Rocks. The strong winds saw him pulled closer to the rocks every time he attempted to catch a wave.

The development of a rip current coupled up with dumping waves saw the surfer get swept out over 200m offshore. The ebbing tide only made the rip stronger.

Senior Lifeguard Feargus Scherczer noticed two instructors from the Surf School sprinting towards the beach near Trow Rocks. Feargus saw that one of the instructors, Joseph Power, was an off-duty RNLI lifeguard. Feargus entered the water with a rescue board around 50m away from Trow Rocks.

When the Surf School instructors reached the casualty, they calmed him down and attempted to move him away from the rip. Feargus assisted by putting the casualty on his rescue board and swam around the rip.

Lifeguard Luke Dixon remained on the beach monitoring the situation and radioed the RNLI Sandhaven lifeguards in South Shields. The Sandhaven (South Shields) team arrived at the beach with an inshore rescue boat and took the casualty back to Mowbray beach.

Feargus administered medical care to the casualty, however he luckily did not sustain any injuries.

Senior Lifeguard Feargus Scherczer warned of the dangers of rip currents: ‘Unfortunately, the weather is very unpredictable and can cause rip currents to quickly appear. We advise all beachgoers to check the weather conditions before swimming.

It was great that this man decided to swim at one of our lifeguarded beaches. This meant as soon as he found himself in trouble, one of our lifeguards was on hand to help.’

If you find yourself swept out to sea at one of our lifeguarded beaches, stay calm and follow the RNLI’s Float to Live advice:

· Fight your instinct the thrash around

· Lean back, extend your arms and legs

· If you need to gently move them around to help you float

· Float until you can control your breathing

· Only then call for help or swim to safety

For more information please visit:

Notes to editors

RNLI Sandhaven (Mowbray) lifeguard service has been operating since 2001. To learn more about the lifeguarded beach go to:

Lead Lifeguard Supervisor Sean Mills is available for interview.

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.

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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.