Busy few days for RNLI lifeguards as the hot weather continues
RNLI lifeguards across the south west have reported busy beaches as people head to the coast to cool off in the record temperatures.
On Poldhu beach in south Cornwall, RNLI lifeguards saved the life of a 15-year-old swimmer, while lifeguards in Teignmouth dealt with six rescues on Sunday, all to paddleboarders swept out of the river mouth.
In North Devon, RNLI lifeguards also rescued three paddleboarders caught in off shore winds after the alarm was raised by sea kaykers with a VHF radio.
Today (Tuesday 19 July) there was a brief respite as the weather broke with lightening meaning some beaches along the south coast were red flagged for a short period.
On Monday (18 July), Poldhu RNLI lifeguards were conducting their routine patrols at waterside. At around 1.45pm, RNLI Lifeguard, Bryher Grant, noticed a young boy in difficulty who had stepped off the low-tide sandbank into deeper water. As his older brother was trying to bring him to shallower water, they both started to struggle in the current. Using a rescue board, Bryher quickly entered the water and paddled out through the surf approximately 50m from the shore. As Bryher was getting closer to the scene, she noticed that the older brother was struggling to stay above water and as she reached for him only his arms were out of the water.
Bryher managed to pull the boy onto her rescue board and signal for assistance. He had inhaled a lot of water and was going in and out of consciousness. The younger brother managed to self-rescue back to the beach. Bryher paddled the boy to the shore and was met by Senior RNLI Lifeguard, Euan Dungavel. Together they brought him up to dry sand.
The lifeguards dropped the flags and evacuated the water as RNLI Lifeguard, Elliot McCluskey, ran down from the base with the first-aid bag and oxygen. The three lifeguards provided immediate casualty care before the ambulance arrived shortly after. Thankfully he was responsive upon handover to the paramedics.
RNLI Lifeguard Supervisor, Matthew Stone, says:
'The RNLI lifeguard team at Poldhu responded admirably to a serious incident on a very busy day. Their training really shone through and without their quick response it would have been a completely different story. We’re all incredibly proud of them, especially Bryher, whose actions saved a young life.
‘It is so important to swim between the red and yellow flags because flash rip currents can occur without warning and being inside the patrolled area is the best way to enjoy the water safely.’
RNLI lifeguards in South Devon rescued six paddleboarders in separate incidents who had been swept out of the river mouth at Teignmouth by the outgoing tide, while at Exmouth a jet ski was out of control after its occupants were thrown off. Thankfully it ran aground and the lifeguards were able to recover the casualties unharmed.
It was a busy few days for the lifeguards in North Devon. On Saturday, lifeguards at Croyde provided emergency casualty care for a five-year-old boy suffering from a medical episode.
In the record temperatures on Monday, the lifeguards on Croyde beach had provided casualty care for a number of beach goers suffering heat exhaustion by lunchtime. They also delat with another serious medical episode involving a 17-year-old boy and a number of lost children. The off shore wind caused some issues with three paddleboarders rescued at Croyde, another at Woolacombe and a number on Westward Ho! including an inflatable kayak that was blown 1km off shore in the winds.
Henry Irvine, RNLI Regional Lifeguard Lead for the south west, says;
‘As expected, the beaches across the region have been very busy with people making the most of the small waves to cool off during the heatwave. With a settled long range forecast and many schools breaking up this week, we’re anticipating the next week to 10 days, to be even busier for our teams around the region.
‘We’d urge beach goers to be aware of the conditions and their capabilities and to take responsibility for their own and their families safety. If using equipment such as inflatable paddleboards make sure you check the weather, ask a lifeguard for advise and don’t take unnecessary risks. Help our lifeguards to help keep you safe.’
· Visit a lifeguarded beach and swim between the red and yellow flags
· If you get into trouble Float to Live – lie on your back and relax, resisting the urge to thrash about
· Call 999 in an emergency and ask for the Coastguard
Notes to Editors
• Attached is a picture of Senior RNLI Lifeguard Euan Dungavel, RNLI Lifeguard Bryher Grant and RNLI Lifeguard Elliot McCluskey. Credit RNLI
• Attached another image of Blackpool Sands with a red flag due to lightening credit RNLI/Luke Lane-Prokopiou
• Follow the link to see which beaches are currently lifeguarded here
• To support the RNLI’s lifesavers, go to: www.rnli.org/donate
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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