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Whitley Bay RNLI lifeguard rescues struggling swimmer

Lifeguards News Release

On Thursday 26 August, RNLI lifeguard George Barlow rescued a man who was dragged out to sea by the rough weather conditions.

A yellow surf board lies on the sandy beach in front of the sea. On the side of it is the RNLI logo and the word lifeguards.

RNLI/Derry Salter

RNLI rescue board

In the early morning, Seasonal Senior Lifeguard George Barlow was setting up the beach for the day and organising a designated swim zone. George spoke to a man who was visiting Whitley Bay for a swim and warned him to be careful as the water was extremely choppy.

For around 20 minutes, the charity’s lifeguard monitored the swimmer on the otherwise empty beach. However, the weather conditions quickly worsened and the swimmer was swept out to sea by the strong offshore wind.

George entered the water with the rescue board and reached the swimmer, who had been dragged out over 300m away from the shore. The man admitted that he was struggling against the waves so George put the casualty onto his rescue board.

After ensuring the man was calm, George paddled him to shore where he received safety advice. Luckily, the swimmer sustained no injuries so medical care was not needed.

Lead Lifeguard Supervisor Sean Mills praised the swimmer for visiting an RNLI lifeguarded beach: ‘It was great that the man chose to swim at a lifeguarded beach between the red and yellow flags. As soon as he came into any trouble, our lifeguard team was immediately there to help.

'However, the weather can be very unpredictable with strong offshore winds quickly dragging you out of your depth. We advise all beachgoers to check the weather conditions before their visit.’

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Notes to editors

RNLI Whitley Bay 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.

Photo Credit

RNLI/Derry Salter

RNLI media contacts

For more information please contact Derry Salter, RNLI Media Engagement Placement on: 07929 673281 or email: [email protected]

Or, the RNLI Press Office available 24/7 on 01202 336789 [email protected]

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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