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Whitstable RNLI issue warning about inflatable beach toys.

Lifeboats News Release

The Whitstable Lifeboat Crew have issued a warning about the dangers of using inflatable beach toys after the lifeboat was called to assist the RNLI Lifeguard at Leysdown, Isle of Sheppey when the occupant of such a toy found himself being blown out to sea in south westerly force 5 winds on Thursday

The inflatable 'beach toy' dinghy is recovered to the lifeboat after its occupant was blown a 1/2-mile out to sea off Leysdown, Isle of Sheppey on Thursday afternoon.

RNLI Whitstable.

The inflatable 'beach toy' dinghy is recovered to the lifeboat after its occupant was blown a 1/2-mile out to sea off Leysdown, Isle of Sheppey on Thursday afternoon.

The Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat was launched at 5.09pm following a request from Dover Coastguard to a report initially of a paddle boarder waving for help off Leysdown and to assist the RNLI Beach Lifeguard in returning him to safety from a position a 1/2-mile offshore and against the wind.

The lifeboat crew arrived 'on scene' and located the casualty, a male in his 20's onboard the lifeguard's rescue board after she had paddled out to assist . The casualty's paddle board turning out to be an inflatable dinghy of the beach toy variety.

Both the casualty and lifeguard were brought onboard the lifeboat and wrapped in a thermal blankets, the crew then recovered the inflatable dinghy and all were returned to the lifeguard hut at Love Beach. Leysdown.

Lifeboat Helmsman Dave Parry said “We cannot emphasise enough the dangers of using inflatable toys on the sea. They are designed for use in pools not in open water and in an offshore wind can easily and quickly be carried out to sea”

“On this occasion the casualty reported to us he had not realised the strength of the wind and we advise all beach goers and those venturing into and onto the water to always be aware of wind and tide and if using small craft of any type, to be properly equipped with buoyancy aids, a means of communication such as a mobile phone in a waterproof pouch and clothing suitable for the kind of activity being undertaken”. “

“With around 300-400 deaths a year from drowning incidents around our coasts, rivers and lakes the RNLI is working hard to through it's 'Respect the Water' and other campaigns to reduce this number and by taking a few simple precautions people can avoid a situation where life is in danger”.



Notes to editors

Whitstable RNLI Lifeboat Station was established in 1963 by the Royal National Lifeboat Institution and is one of 237 lifeboat stations around the shores of the UK and Ireland. The volunteer crews provide a maritime search and rescue service for the Kent coast. They cover the area between the Kingsferry Bridge on the Swale, in the west, around the south-eastern side of Sheppey and along the coast through Whitstable and Herne Bay to Reculver in the east and outwards into the Thames Estuary.

The station is equipped with an Atlantic 85 lifeboat named Lewisco, purchased through a bequest of a Miss Lewis of London who passed away in 2006.

She is what is known as a rigid inflatable inshore lifeboat, the boat’s rigid hull being topped by an inflatable sponson. She carries a crew of four people.

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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Members of the public may contact the RNLI on 0300 300 9990 (UK) or 1800 991802 (Ireland) or by email.