RNLI Withernsea lifeguards save three teenagers’ lives

Lifeguards News Release

Withernsea, traditionally one of the RNLI’s quietest Yorkshire beaches, saw one man and three teenagers rescued back-to-back after a flash rip appeared.

Two RNLI lifeguards in uniform stand in front of a white lifeguard hut. A yellow sign saying Lifeguards is on the hut as well as a safety message saying 'Can you float?'

RNLI/Derry Salter

RNLI Withernsea lifeguards Tom Pratt and Daisy Evans

On Thursday 15 July, Ops Command Lifeguard Daisy Evans was monitoring the lifeguarded beach, particularly a large group of people swimming between the red and yellow flags. At around 3:30pm, Daisy noticed that one member of the group was lagging and struggling to get ashore.

The dumpy waves became very frequent and caused a flash rip current in the middle of the swim zone only 15m offshore. Daisy suited up and ran into the sea with her rescue board, where she found the man trying to swim against the current. When the charity’s lifeguard reached the man, he was exhausted, so Daisy got him to hold onto the rescue board before swimming him back to shore.

Seasonal Lifeguard Supervisor Tom Pratt was radioed and came to his lifeguard’s assistance, waiting on the beach for the casualty. The man underwent a series of medical checks where it was established that he hadn't sustained any injuries.

Tom decided to give the RNLI’s safety advice and Float to Live message to the whole group of swimmers and people that had gathered around.

Shortly after, Tom decided to move the safe swim zone and began to adjust the red and yellow flags to outside of the flash rip area. However, as he was doing so, three teenage girls who were only 10m away from the shore raised their hands and shouted for help.

Tom utilised his height and waded into the water to rescue the three teens from the rip current. When the charity’s lifeguard reached the girls, they could barely keep their heads above the water, so Tom lifted them out of the rip. Daisy waited on the beach with a trauma bag, however, the group of three remained uninjured, albeit a little panicked.

Immediately after, the RNLI Withernsea lifeguards team of two dropped the red and yellow flags, instead raising the red flag for the whole beach to prevent anyone else from swimming in the sea.

Seasonal Lifeguard Supervisor Tom Pratt praised people for visiting a lifeguarded beach:

‘The three girls were inexperienced swimmers so I’m glad they decided to swim at a lifeguarded beach between the red and yellow flags.

'Our lifeguards have local knowledge of our beaches, so it is essential that people listen to their safety advice. We spent the rest of our day warning people not to enter the water.’

Tom also added a warning about the danger of rip currents:

‘Thursday proved how powerful flash rips can be, hindering even the strongest swimmers.

'It’s important to follow the RNLI’s Float to Live advice. Keep floating and raise your hand to call for help. Not fighting the current is essential as it can quickly exhaust you.’

If you find yourself stuck in a rip current, 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: https://rnli.org/safety/know-the-risks/rip-currents

Notes to editors

RNLI Withernsea lifeguard service has been operating since 2001. To learn more about the lifeguarded beach go to: Withernsea Beach - Lifeguarded beaches (rnli.org)

Seasonal Lifeguard Supervisor Tom Pratt is available for interview.

RNLI beach safety resources aimed at children and families can be found here: https://rnli.org/pages/beach-safety-resources

Photo Credit

RNLI/Tom Pratt

RNLI media contacts

For more information please contact Derry Salter, RNLI Media Engagement Placement on: 07929 673281 or email: derry_salter@rnli.org.uk

Or, the RNLI Press Office available 24/7 on 01202 336789 PressOffice@rnli.org.uk

On top of a white lifeguard hut, which has a yellow sign saying Lifeguards and a safety message saying 'Can you float?', flies two flags. The flag on the left is white and has a red cross with the letters RNLI in each of the four sections. Beside it, a red flag flies meaning that people cannot swim at the beach.

RNLI/Derry Salter

Red flag flying at RNLI Withernsea Beach telling people not to swim

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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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