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RNLI issue warning after series of incidents involving people cut off by tide

Lifeguards News Release

The RNLI is urging visitors to the coast to be aware of the local tide times and be vigilant when planning their visit after a series of incidents in the south west involving people being cut off by the tide.

With spring tides due in the coming days the charity’s lifesavers are hoping to prevent more people getting trapped.

RNLI lifeguards patrolling Treyarnon beach near Padstow were alerted to an incident on Friday (3 June) involving a large family and their two dogs. They were spotted stranded on an island of rocks about 50 meters away from the shore. They were unaware that the tide had turned and was flooding into the beach covering the rocks and the water was rising rapidly.

Neighbouring beach, Constantine Bay were called for back-up using their inshore rescue boat (IRB) to ferry the stranded family back and forth from the rocky island to the beach. It was a very calm, sunny day, so the strength of the tidal surges was somewhat deceiving. Treyarnon lifeguards also responded to the incident on rescue boards and paddled some of the family members back to shore safely.

This is a fairly similar scenario to what happened in Challaborough (Kingsbridge) the week before (Saturday 30 May) where RNLI lifeguards rescued seven children who got stranded on rocks out to sea whilst rock-pooling. They were stuck on a stretch of rocks surrounded by water as the incoming tide rapidly filled the gully between the rocks and the beach.

Porthtowan RNLI lifeguards were carrying out routine IRB patrols on Thursday 2 June on the incoming tide when they spotted two people tucked away in a cove at Chapel Porth beach. This popular cove is the neighbouring beach to the north of Porthtowan which is accessible by foot during low tide. The conditions on this particular day were also very calm and the turning of the tide happened subtly.

One of the people rescued by Porthtowan lifeguards, says:

‘We were sat on the rocks tucked away in a little cove and had totally lost track of time. When the RNLI lifeguards appeared on their rescue boat we hadn’t realised how far the tide had come in. We were so grateful for their care and assistance making sure we got back to shore safely.’

In St. Agnes last week (6 June) two people were spotted waving for assistance due to being cut-off by the tide near Trevaunance Cove. They were tucked away beneath the cliffs and hadn’t noticed the tide pushing in around the corner. St. Agnes RNLI lifeboat responded to this incident.

RNLI Water Safety Delivery Support, Joel Ninnes, says:

‘These events are a huge reminder for visitors to the coast to always be aware of the local tide times and to speak to the local lifeguards before planning a walk to a neighbouring beach. The tide comes in and out twice in each 24 hour period, and while tide times can be accurately predicted, they do vary at each location and change daily. A beach or coastal area may appear a safe place for a walk, but an incoming tide can quickly leave you stranded.

‘On bigger tides, like we will see in the coming days, areas will be cut off by water quicker than normal and places usually unaffected by the tide may also be covered. This can be frightening and potentially very dangerous if you’re stuck in a location where there is no beach left.’

The RNLI is urging anyone visiting the coast this summer to make sure they keep themselves and their families safe by following 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 999/112 and ask for the Coastguard.

Notes to editors

- Please see attached rescue footage of Treyarnon RNLI lifeguards (Padstow)

- To find your nearest lifeguarded beach, please visit:

RNLI media contacts

For more information please contact Becky Bright, RNLI Media Engagement Placement (South West) on 07929 673281 or [email protected] or Amy Caldwell, Regional Media Manager at [email protected]. Alternatively, please contact the RNLI Press Office on 01202 336789 or [email protected].

RNLI/Becky Bright

Treyarnon beach

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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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.