Flip Flops feature lifesaving water safety message “Float to Live”

Lifeguards News Release

RNLI and official vehicle supplier Ford, turn recycled car tyres into message-delivering flip flops to help raise awareness of water safety advice “float to live”

  • Worrying new data1 reveals 41% of people wouldn’t try to float if they fell into open water
  • The flip flops, which have safety messages etched into the soles, are designed using Sole Engineered Tyre Technology using recycled tyres that would have otherwise ended up in landfill
  • The initiative is part of a joint campaign by RNLI & Ford to educate around the five steps to “Float to Live”

17th August, United Kingdom: The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) have teamed with their partners at Ford to create a unique flip flop using recycled car tyres which will print the charity’s vital ‘Float to Live’ message in the sand, as new data shows a decline in awareness of this life-saving action.

In a survey1, commissioned by the RNLI, only 59% of those questioned– aged 16-64 – would try to float if they fell into open water and only 55% are confident that they would be able to float if they did fall into open water. The findings show awareness to float as the action to take should you fall into open water has significantly declined since last year.

Guy Addington, RNLI Water Safety Lead, said:

‘We want people to enjoy the coast but urge everyone to respect the water, think about their own safety and know what to do in an emergency.

‘Think about planning your trip to a beach where lifeguards are patrolling to keep you, your family and friends safe, and also ensure you are aware of the RNLI’s safety advice before getting into the sea, wherever you are holidaying. Coastal areas provide a great opportunity to enjoy fresh air and open space but they can be an unpredictable and dangerous environment,

‘We’ve seen high numbers of people at UK beaches this summer so it’s imperative that we continue to raise awareness of important water safety advice. We’re delighted that Ford are supporting by helping to spread these messages that can help save lives.

Members of the public are being encouraged to take personal responsibility for their own and family’s safety by remembering the Float to Live technique if you’re in trouble in the water:

  • Fight your instinct to 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

In August 2017, Evan was caught in a rip current off the Northumberland coast during a post-exam trip to the beach with his friends. Thankfully, Evan had seen the RNLI’s ‘Float to Live’ video from their Respect the Water campaign and knew he had to stay calm and float. The RNLI’s water safety messaging saved Evan’s life.

Evan is incredibly grateful to the RNLI for their work in spreading the lifesaving ‘Float to Live’ message: “I just want to thank everyone in the RNLI for raising the awareness because I think, ultimately, that is what saved my life”

The goal of the flip flops initiative is to explore ways to get messages out to audiences - whether that’s through spotting a print in the sand, seeing a picture or hearing through a friend - to and learn about how best to respond when found in troubling situations at sea.

With 1.5 billion tyres being disregarded each year globally, the upcycled flip flops are created using waste tyres from landfills that are carefully moulded using Sole Engineered Tyre Technology to create the unique safety message design.

It is the second time the charity, which saves lives at sea, and the car company have teamed up to educate on water safety tips and follows on from an initiative trialled last year where they fitted Ford Ranger vehicles with specially designed tyres to create eye-catching 'tide track' messages in sand which were shared across social media

Saxon, RNLI volunteer at Ford of Britain says: “I have seen first-hand the importance of spreading safety messages at the shore. We’re passionate about our work with the RNLI and after the success of last year's campaign we wanted to highlight this vital message. We hope this new initiative helps the RNLI continue their incredible work to keep us safe at sea.”

Ford is the official vehicle supplier to the RNLI, supporting their great work with vehicles to help lifeguards patrol beaches up and down the UK. The Ranger was chosen out of eight other car manufacturers as the hero vehicle to support the RNLI in 2018. Since then, Ford has provided the RNLI with a range of Ford vehicles including the Ford Raptor, Transit Connect, Ford Kuga and even the Ford Fiesta.

Ends

Notes to editor:

  • 1Source: Basis Research, RNLI Water Safety Survey, April 2021. Sample: 1,007 adults aged 16 to 64, nationally representative sample of the UK population
  • RNLI Water Safety Lead Guy Addington and rescuee Evan available for interview.

About Ford Motor Company

Ford Motor Company (NYSE: F) is a global company based in Dearborn, Michigan. The company designs, manufactures, markets and services a full line of Ford trucks, utility vehicles, and cars – increasingly including electrified versions – and Lincoln luxury vehicles; provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company; and is pursuing leadership positions in electrification; mobility solutions, including self-driving services; and connected vehicle services. Ford employs approximately 186,000 people worldwide. For more information regarding Ford, its products, and Ford Motor Credit Company, please visit corporate.ford.com.

Ford of Britain has been sales leader in the U.K. for passenger vehicles and commercial vehicles for 44 and 55 consecutive years respectively, with Fiesta being the country’s top-selling vehicle the 12th successive year. The U.K. is Ford’s third-largest global market and accounts for around 30 percent of total Ford vehicle sales in Europe. Ford is pursuing leadership positions across mobility and electrified vehicles, launching 16 hybrid and electric vehicles in 2020/21. Ford directly employs around 7,000 people in the U.K., with thousands more employed in its extensive dealer network. The Ford Britain Dunton Campus in Essex is the home of its European commercial vehicle business group, the Ford of Britain national sales company, Ford’s banking arm – Ford Credit Europe – and powertrain engineering. Ford’s manufacturing operations are a UK export success story with around 85 percent of engines and all transmissions exported to more than 15 countries on six continents. The value of these exports, including machined engine components, is around £1.5 billion annually.

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 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 142,400 lives.

RNLI/Nathan Williams

The RNLI’s water safety messaging saved Evan’s life when he was caught in a rip current off the Northumberland coast.

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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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.