Donate now

Gravesend RNLI demonstrate float to live on BBC Morning Live

Lifeboats News Release

Dr Ranj Singh took a dip in the River Thames on BBC Morning Live with the volunteer Gravesend RNLI lifeboat crew to show how everybody can float to live.

A photo of 4 Gravesend RNLI Lifeboat crew members in kit on the E-class lifeboat Olivia Laura Deare II at the pontoon at Royal Terrace Pier with Dr Ranj Singh


Gravesend RNLI Station Lifeboat crew members Connor, Charlotte, Ashley and Liam (left to right) with BBC Morning Live presenter Dr Ranj Singh (far right) on lifeboat Olivia Laura Deare II.

RNLI Thames Commander Liam Sidders said, ‘Everybody floats differently. If you enter the water unexpectedly, fight your instincts and try to float until you feel calm enough to get help.’

‘Tilt your head back and submerge your ears. This will help to keep your airway clear of the water. Try to relax and breathe normally. Spread your arms and legs and move them around to help you keep afloat.’

This advice worked perfectly for Dr Ranj, who - despite being a self-proclaimed ‘not very confident swimmer’ - donned a drysuit and lifejacket to get into the River Thames with Liam on live television and demonstrate this life-saving technique.

After trying these simple steps Dr Ranj floated with ease and practiced raising one arm and shouting ‘Help!’ to attract attention, as he would do in an emergency. He said, ‘The trick is staying calm’.

Dr Ranj and the crew also discussed cold water shock, the dangers of inflatables, and the risks of being cut off by the tide.

RNLI lifeboat crew member Charlotte Earle said, ‘Up to 40% of the RNLI’s rescues are to people who never intended to get into the water. If you need help or see someone who does, call 999 and ask for the coastguard.’

If you missed the show on June 21, you can still catch up on BBC iPlayer.

RNLI Media Contacts

For further information, please contact:

  • Helena Lane, Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer for Gravesend RNLI on 01474 328 465 or email [email protected]
  • Ashley Bard, Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer for Gravesend RNLI on 01474 328 465 or email [email protected]
  • Paul Dunt, Regional Media Officer (London and South East), on 02076 207 425 or 07785 296 252, or email [email protected]
  • Julie Rainey, Regional Media Manager (South East), on 07827 358 256 or email [email protected]

RNLI Press Office on 01202 336 789 or email [email protected]

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.