RNLI lifeguards in urgent river rescue at Rye Harbour

Lifeguards News Release

Following a serious incident, Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) lifeguards in Hastings are reminding beachgoers to stay vigilant in and around water when visiting the coast.

Three RNLI Lifeguards patrolling the beach near the water holding rescue tubes

RNLI/Nathan Williams

RNLI Lifeguards patrolling the beach holding rescue tubes

On Wednesday (3 August), the charity's lifeguards responded to a casualty who was struggling to stay afloat after falling into the river Rother at Rye Harbour and becoming caught in the strong current.

At around midday, the RNLI lifeguards were tasked by Solent Coastguard to aid a casualty struggling in the water on the western side of the river at the end of the harbour wall. Seasonal Lifeguard Supervisor Georgia Landy immediately responded to the call, grabbing a rescue tube, and rushing to the location indicated by the Coastguard.

Upon arrival, she saw that the casualty was trying to keep hold of the harbour wall, and although in visible distress, they were conscious and responsive. After calming them down, Georgia managed to strap the rescue tube around the casualty's body to help them stay afloat, and swam back to safety. Due to the river's strong currents, she proceeded towards the eastern side of the Rother towards Camber beach.

Once on land, the lifeguards administered casualty care and treated their multiple cuts caused by the barnacles on the harbour wall. Shortly afterwards, the casualty was reunited with their family.

Talking about the rescue, Georgia Landy said: 'It was a challenging rescue due to the river's strong currents, but we train extremely hard to respond to incidents like these in the shortest of time, no matter the water or weather conditions. I am happy I could bring the casualty back safely to their family.'

Hugh Richardson, RNLI Lead Lifeguard Supervisor for East Sussex, said:

'It is important to remember that nobody goes to the coast thinking they will need to be rescued, but it can happen to anyone. The river Rother has strong currents, and even the most confident swimmer can get into difficulty.

There is one simple skill you should know that could save your life if you find yourself struggling in the water, and that is Float to Live - Fight your instinct to thrash around, lean back and extend your arms and legs like a starfish, keeping your nose above the water. Stay in this position until you can control your breathing, and only then call for help, swim to safety or continue floating until help arrives. If you see someone else in trouble in the water, call 999 or 112 and ask for the Coastguard.'

While temperatures remain high during the week, the RNLI lifeguards in Hastings are urging everyone to stay safe and be aware of their environment.

Last year, almost one million visitors enjoyed the beautiful beaches in the area, with RNLI lifeguards in Hasting attending 307 incidents and aiding 336 people. 95% of a lifeguard's work is preventative.

There were 277 deaths in the UK from accidental drownings in 2021 across inland and coastal locations, an increase of 23 from the previous year. 40% of people who lost their lives had no intention of entering the water, such as those walking, with causes including slips, trips, and falls, being cut off by the tide, or swept in by waves. *

For more information on how to improve your chances of survival if you find yourself struggling in the water unexpectedly, please visit: https://rnli.org/safety/float

To find your nearest lifeguarded beach, please visit: https://rnli.org/find-my-nearest/lifeguarded-beaches

Ends

Notes to editors

*Water Incident Database (WAID), maintained by the National Water Safety Forum. To view and download the WAID 2021 report visit: https://www.nationalwatersafety.org.uk/waid

RNLI lifeguards are qualified in lifesaving and casualty care, highly trained, strong and fit. They must be able to swim 200m in under 3½ minutes and run 200m on sand in under 40 seconds.

RNLI media contacts

For more information, please contact Simona Matache, RNLI South East Media Placement, on 0779 0772665 or email [email protected]. Alternatively, please call the RNLI Press Office on 01202 336 789 or email [email protected]

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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 over 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and, in a normal year, 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.

Portrait Of Georgia Landy, Seasonal Lifeguard Supervisor

RNLI/Hastings Lifeguards

Georgia Landy, Seasonal Lifeguard Supervisor in Hastings

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.

Learn more about the RNLI

For more information please visit the RNLI website or Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. News releases, videos and photos are available on the News Centre.

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.