After a busy Easter, RNLI lifeguards return to more beaches in the south west
RNLI lifeguards patrolling a number of beaches around the south west had a busy start to the season carrying out multiple rescues, major first aids and preventative actions. Lifeguards are preparing to return to several of the region’s beaches daily from Saturday (30 April) for the summer season.
Along the north coast, beaches were reported to be very busy over Easter with people making the most of the long weekend and big surf. Easterly winds created challenging conditions in certain locations, and in the Newquay area a windsurfer was rescued after being blown offshore. The lifeguard teams also carried out several rip current rescues as the spring tides created strong currents.
At Fistral, a surfer was rescued in distress after being caught in large waves and a strong rip current which took them approximately 1000m offshore. Around 10 people were rescued by a local surf school at Crantock beach after they got caught in strong conditions. And surf clubs along the north coast also carried out voluntary patrols as a preventative measure due to the conditions.
Tregonhawke also dealt with multiple rip current rescues and on Easter Saturday during a routine inshore rescue boat (IRB) patrol, two people and their dog were stranded in the neighbouring bay and assisted back to shore having been cut off by the incoming tide.
RNLI lifeguard supervisor, Drustan Ward, was carrying out preventative patrols at Porthtowan’s neighbouring beach Chapel Porth when he was alerted to an incident involving a man who had fallen from the rugged cliff path. Due to the large flooding tide, they needed to quickly evacuate the casualty who had sustained injuries to their ankle, chest and arm and the Coastguard helicopter was tasked to airlift the casualty to hospital. Porthtowan lifeguards were involved with assisting 11 people who were cut off by the tide over the Easter holidays.
At Northcott beach in Bude (situated between Sandymouth and Summerleaze) RNLI lifeguard supervisor Ross Hambley was patrolling in a patrol truck concerned about the dangerously strong rip currents that form during a flooding tide. At around midday, Falmouth Coastguard tasked Bude RNLI lifeboat to patrol the neighbouring beaches (these are currently not lifeguarded until 14 May) and at 2pm, two bathers were spotted in significant difficulty and were rescued using the rescue watercraft (RWC). One of the casualties appeared to be suffering from hypothermia and was taken to a nearby hospital for further assessment.
Ross says, ‘This incident demonstrates the importance of always choosing to visit a lifeguarded beach. Rip currents are extremely dangerous and can catch anybody off-guard, so it is important to speak to the lifeguards before entering the water.
‘If you find yourself caught in a rip current don’t try to swim against it or you’ll get exhausted. If you can stand, wade don’t swim, but if you are out of your depth then try to swim parallel to the shore until you’re free of the rip and then head for shore. Always raise your hand and shout for help.’
In north Devon at Croyde and Woolacombe, RNLI lifeguards dealt with a variety of incidents, from rip current rescues in offshore winds, reuniting lost children and assisting a 12-year old girl who was suffering from the effects of swimming in cold water.
From Saturday 30 April RNLI lifeguards will return to the following beaches for daily patrols for the 2022 season: Gwithian, Hayle, Constantine, Treyarnon, Harlyn, Polzeath, Widemouth, Summerleaze, Porthtowan, Mawgan Porth, Watergate Bay, Towan, Praa Sands, Sharrow, Tregantle, Tregonhawke, Bantham, Sedgewell Cove, West Bay, Weymouth, St. Ouen’s (Jersey) and Le Braye (Jersey).
As the bank holiday weekend approaches, and with the potential of good weather, the charity is urging everybody to follow the beach safety advice:
· Visit a lifeguarded beach and swim between the red and yellow flags
· Check the weather forecast, tide times and read local hazard signage to understand local risks
· Keep a close eye on your family – on the beach and in the water – don’t allow your family to swim alone
· If you fall into the water unexpectedly, FLOAT TO LIVE. Fight your instinct to thrash around, lean back, extend your arms and legs, and float
· In an emergency dial 999 and ask for the Coastguard
Notes to editors
Please see attached a photo of RNLI lifeguards on duty.
RNLI media contacts
For more information, please contact Becky Bright, RNLI Media Engagement Placement (South West) on 07929 673281 or [email protected] or Emma Haines, Regional Media Officer on 07786 668847 or [email protected]. Alternatively, please contact the RNLI Press Office on 01202 336789 or [email protected].
For more information on the RNLI please visit rnli.org. News releases and other media resources, including RSS feeds, downloadable photos and video, are available at the RNLI News Centre rnli.org/news-and-media.
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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