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RNLI warning ahead of bank holiday weekend as teenagers rescued

Lifeboats News Release

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) is urging those visiting the coast over the bank holiday weekend to take care and be aware of the dangers after two teenagers were rescued by RNLI lifeguards when they followed vital safety advice.

With warmer weather forecast, the lifesaving charity is reminding the public how to keep themselves and their loved ones safe ahead of what is expected to be another busy bank holiday weekend at the coast in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

On the same weekend last year the RNLI assisted more than 600 people in total with lifeboats launching 157 times and saving six lives, while RNLI lifeguards were equally busy on beaches, dealing with 314 incidents and aiding 406 people.

And with many people expected to make the most of the final long weekend before schools return in England and Wales, the RNLI is reminding everyone how to stay safe in and around the sea.

Last week, two teenage girls were rescued by lifeguards from a rip current at Roker, Sunderland, after remembering how to Float to Live, having been told about the lifesaving technique at school.

Gareth Morrison, Head of Water Safety for the RNLI, said: ‘When the lifeguards reached them, they were floating on their backs after remembering how they had been told about the Float to Live technique at school, which is to lie on your back with your arms and legs out like a starfish.

‘It is that kind of knowledge about what to do in an emergency that can and does save lives.

‘As the school summer holidays are nearing the end, we’re urging people not to become complacent about the dangers of the sea and coastal areas and to follow our simple safety advice.

‘RNLI lifeguards are still operating on more than 240 beaches. If you are heading to the coast, please choose a lifeguarded beach, where possible, and swim between the red and yellow flags.’

The key RNLI safety advice is:

  • Visit a lifeguarded beach & swim between the red and yellow flags
  • If you get into trouble Float to Live – lie on your back and relax, resisting the urge to thrash about
  • Call 999 in an emergency and ask for the Coastguard

Earlier this month, a father and son from Leeds were rescued by RNLI lifeguards on Bantham Beach, in Devon, after a rip current pulled them towards rocks while bodyboarding.

Oliver Gregory, 47, father of 11-year-old Joshua said: ‘We initially went in the water in between the red and yellow flags, but a combination of not looking back at the beach for a reference position and the power of the current, swept us to the side of the bay.

‘We tried to swim back to shore but were not making much progress and as we were still being dragged to the rocks when we began to get concerned.

‘I was so relieved when I saw the lifeguards were heading towards us. We are very grateful for their help that day. If anyone is planning on going in the water, make yourself aware of any potential currents or dangers and always try to go to a lifeguard beach.’

To find your nearest RNLI lifeguarded beach visit:

For beach safety advice visit: and to help save lives, please donate via GoDonate/RNLI

Notes to Editors

  • An RNLI Water Safety spokesperson is available for interview upon request

Media contacts

For more information please contact Dave Riley, RNLI National Media Officer – [email protected]. Alternatively, call the RNLI Press Office on 01202 336789 or email [email protected].

RNLI/Nathan Williams

Lifeguards on duty at Bournemouth 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.