Looe RNLI volunteers rescue two sea swimmers

Lifeboats News Release

Two sea swimmers separated from a group swimming from Talland to Polperro were rescued by Looe RNLI volunteers and taken to Polperro

Looe RNLI D Class Ollie Naismith leaving Looe earlier in the evening

RNLI/Ian Foster

Looe RNLI D Class Ollie Naismith leaving Looe earlier in the evening

Yesterday evening, 14 July 2021, two swimmers, from a group of 16, swimming from Talland to Polperro contacted Falmouth Coastguard Operations Centre to report they were in difficulties and other members of the group may also need assistance.

The calls for assistance came in around 8.40 pm whilst our RNLI volunteer crew, on the charity’s D Class inshore lifeboat Ollie Naismith, were out in Whitsand bay on a training exercise. Diverting our crew on the D Class to the incident’s location, our Lifeboat Operations Manager, Dave Haines, paged a second crew to launch the Atlantic 85 Sheila and Dennis Tongue II. Arriving on scene at Downend Point, just to the east of Polperro, our crews found the two swimmers. One of the swimmers had made it ashore onto rocks to contact the coastguards. Both said they were exhausted and struggling to make any headway against the current and prevailing wind. The pair were helped on board the Atlantic 85 and taken to Polperro to be reunited with the rest of the group. After confirming all the swimmers were safe and accounted for, our lifeboats were stood down. The inshore lifeboats returned to station where they were washed down and refuelled ready for service by 10 pm.

During the pandemic, open water / sea swimming has become a popular activity, but also has significant risks. Before going out for a swim the RNLI and our crew have the following advice

· If it is your first time

o Discuss with a health professional the risks of cold water immersion

o Always go with a buddy, so you can look out for each other

o Let someone know where you are going and when you expect to return

· Choose your spot

o Any hazards?

o If the area lifeguarded?

o Be aware of rip currents

o Are there safe places to exit the water along the route?

· Check the weather and tides

o What are the tides and currents doing?

o When will it get dark?

o Be prepared to change plans or cancel if not safe

· Have the right equipment

o Wetsuit

o Wear a bright colour swim hat and take a tow float

o Carry an appropriate method of calling for help – VHF radio is preferable to a mobile phone especially in areas with a poor mobile phone reception

o Carry a whistle to attract attention.

· In an emergency

o Do not panic, remember float to live

o Contact the coastguard via VHF Radio or 999


Notes to editors


· Looe RNLI D Class Ollie Naismith leaving Looe earlier in the evening
Photo credit RNLI / Ian Foster


· Re-established as an inshore lifeboat station in 1992, Looe RNLI operate two inshore lifeboats
An Atlantic 85 Sheila and Dennis Tongue II and a D Class Ollie Naismith

· Looe RNLI have recently launched the Looe Lifeboat Appeal – Ollie Naismith II to raise £78,000 for a replacement D Class inshore lifeboat Ollie Naismith II

· RNLI safety advice for open water swimming can be found at

· For further information on Looe RNLI Lifeboats please visit our website www.looelifeboats.co.uk

· Looe RNLI Facebook page www.facebook.com/LooeRNLI

RNLI media contacts

For more information please telephone

Ian Foster, RNLI Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer for Looe Lifeboat Station, on 07902 753228 or looelpo@ianfoster.com or ian_foster@rnli.org.uk

or Amy Caldwell, RNLI Regional Media Manager, on 07920 818807 or amy_caldwell@rnli.org.uk

or Emma Haines, RNLI Regional Media Officer, on 07786 668847 or emma_haines@rnli.org.uk

Alternatively you can contact the RNLI Duty Press Officer on 01202 336789

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.