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Harwich lifeboat crew respond to people caught in rip current.

Lifeboats News Release

On 4 September 2023 at 4.23pm, Harwich Inshore Lifeboat (ILB) received a call for an immediate launch in response to reports of two individuals in the water off Dovercourt.

Initial reports suggested they were caught in a rip current due to the changing tide and were unable to make it back to shore. Rip currents are powerful currents that run out to sea. They can quickly drag you away from the shore and into deep water.

As the crew swiftly responded and were en route to the location, they received updated information that both people had managed to get out of the water. Di Bush, Harwich RNLI Coxswain said: ‘The individuals did the right thing in the situation they found themselves in, they floated on their backs with their legs and arms outstretched to conserve energy’.

If you found yourself struggling in the water unexpectedly, your instinct would tell you to swim hard. But cold water shock could make you gasp uncontrollably. Then you could breathe in water and drown. Instead, you should Float to Live.

However you end up in the water, if you end up in difficulty, Float to Live.

Five steps to know how to float:

  • Tilt your head back with ears submerged
  • Relax and try to breathe normally
  • Move your hands to help you stay afloat
  • It’s OK if your legs sink we all float differently
  • Spread your arms and legs to improve stability

The ILB crew was asked to continue to the scene and provide casualty care until paramedics could take over. This underscores the multifaceted role of these volunteers, not only as rescuers but also as first responders providing essential medical assistance when needed.

The ILB returned to Harwich station by 6:15pm where the crew prepared the lifeboat for its next mission.

RNLI/Jeff Welch

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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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.