The volunteer crew of Newhaven RNLI joined the Seaford Mermaids for a morning dip in the sea today, to celebrate the on-going support of this safety conscious group of open water swimmers.
The Seaford Mermaids are a free-spirited and safety conscious group of open water swimmers. A detailed daily forecast, shared via their WhatsApp groups of over 400 members, provides weather and tide information, suggesting the best time and place to take a dip that day in Seaford bay.
Something of an annual tradition to raise money for the Lifeboat began, following the tragic drowning of a swimmer two years ago at Cuckmere, a swimmer unrelated to the Mermaids that nonetheless garnered their spirit of togetherness.
In response to that human loss, the Mermaids raised a staggering sum that exceeded £12,000 in less than a week. This effort set a precedent to annually support “our friend Newhaven Lifeboat”, says Mermaids founder 89-year-old Ruth Rose, whose daily dip attracted others to join her some fifteen years ago.
Today over £2000 has already been raised for Newhaven RNLI by the swimmers and donations are still rolling in. More than sixty swimmers graced the water in Seaford this morning.
The volunteer crew of Newhaven Lifeboat are grateful to the Mermaids for both their community spirit and RNLI fundraising support, but most of all, value the emphasis the Mermaids place on water safety awareness and the benefits of swimming with others.
Lewis Arnold, Coxswain, says: ‘The Mermaids community embraces everything that is good about wild or open water swimming, including respecting the water by encouraging its members to be aware of the importance of acclimatising to temperature and the associated dangers of cold water shock, the tide, local hazards and most importantly, to never swim alone.’
Amanda Raine, a Seaford Mermaid and donor to the RNLI, who moved to the area just over a year ago, says: ‘I am really grateful to our committed forecasters. They help me feel so much safer swimming all-year and encourage me to get in the sea! Joining The Mermaids, meeting everyone and sea swimming, has nourished my life in so many ways.’
The RNLI have this week launched their Christmas fundraising appeal to help their
lifeboat crews face the cold, rough seas this winter. The appeal features Newhaven Lifeboat volunteers rescueing two paragliders who were cut off by the tide in deep water below the cliff at Peacehaven last Christmas Eve.
• Safety advice: Before you hit the water, here are the RNLI’s top safety tips for open water swimming:
- Never swim alone. The safest way to wild swim is at an Open Water swimming site, with a club or between the red and yellow flags on a lifeguarded beach. If you can’t get to a lifeguarded beach, learn more about your chosen location and check hazard signage.
- Tell people where you have gone and when you expect to be back.
- Find an organised swim group in your local community.
- Acclimatise to cold water slowly and enter gradually to reduce the risk of cold water shock. A wetsuit will help you keep warm, especially if you're new to open water swimming.
- Check weather and tide times before you go, avoid swimming in dangerous conditions.
- Take a means for calling for help in a waterproof phone pouch and have this on you at all times.
- If you see someone in trouble, call 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard
- Wear a brightly coloured hat plus a tow float for increased visibility.
- Always swim parallel to the shore and not straight out. Cold water, waves and currents can tire you out quickly and make it harder to return to shore.
- Never swim under the influence of alcohol.
- If you find yourself in trouble in the water, you can help yourself get back to safety by floating on your back like a star.
- If you are concerned about water quality, we advise swimmers to check the water quality of the beach they are planning to swim on before entering the water. The Environment Agency runs a useful site this site (https://environment.data.gov.uk/bwq/profiles/), search “Environment Agency Swimfo”.
• Social media tags: @newhavenlifeboat @rnli #newhaven #seaford #rnli #lifeboats #volunteers #savinglivesatsea #saveeveryone #watersafety #respectthewater #openwaterswimming #seaswimming #onecrew #floattolive
RNLI media contacts
For more information please telephone Roz Ashton, RNLI volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer on 07900 887423 or [email protected]
RNLI Newhaven social media
For more information, please visit the RNLI website or Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. News releases, videos and photos are available on the RNLI News Centre.
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.