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Safety warning as Rhyl RNLI rescue 120 people trapped by incoming tide

Lifeboats News Release

The RNLI is today reminding people to check the weather and tides before venturing to the coast as the charity releases footage of volunteers rescuing 120 beachgoers trapped by a rapidly incoming tide at Rhyl.

On Saturday (9 September), Rhyl RNLI volunteers launched to warn people of the imminent danger before rescuing those who couldn’t make it off the shrinking sandbank in time.

Along with coastguard teams, the RNLI crew ensured all 120 people – including 80 children and teenagers – were brought to safety and no serious injuries were sustained as the 6.2-metre tide quickly submerged the sandbank.

Rhyl RNLI volunteer lifeboat crew member Kevin Taggart said:

‘Saturday turned out to be a very busy day and we are glad the station volunteers, together with the coastguard, were able to assist so many people with no serious injuries to those rescued.

‘The beach can seem like a big playground, but the tide can come in surprisingly quickly. As the tide moves up and down the beach, the depth of the water changes throughout the day, sometimes by as much as 10 metres, and can trap you on sandbanks, or in coves – 10% of all RNLI rescues in Wales are to people cut off by the tide.

‘As the tide comes in, simply walking further up the beach and away to safety might not be an option. Always check the tide times before heading out and while on the coast, be aware of what the sea is doing around you.’

Now the peak season for RNLI lifeguards has ended, fewer beaches have lifeguards present, highlighting the need to be aware of how to stay safe on the coast.

In Pembrokeshire, Whitesands Beach will be patrolled every Saturday and Sunday from 10-6 until 5 November. In Swansea, both Caswell Beach and Langland Bay will both be patrolled every day until 17 September. In Bridgend, Rest Bay will be patrolled every Saturday and Sunday from 10-6 until 17 September and Trecco Bay every day until 24 September.

Chris Cousens, RNLI Water Safety Lead says:

‘As the peak season finishes for RNLI lifeguards and with a reduction of lifeguarded beaches, we’re asking people to continue to take care and be aware of the dangers. If you are planning on swimming at a lifeguarded beach, we highly recommend you swim between the red and yellow flags as this is the safest area and is most closely monitored by lifeguards.

‘If you get into trouble in the water, Float to Live. Tilt your head back with ears submerged and try to relax and control your breathing. Use your hands to help you stay afloat and then call for help or swim to safety if you can. Please share these messages with your family and friends, we want everyone to enjoy our beautiful coast, whilst staying safe.’

The dramatic rescue was one of three shouts over a busy weekend for RNLI volunteers at Rhyl.

The RNLI’s advice to avoid getting cut off by the tide is:

  • Before you head out, make sure it's safe. Check the tide tables.
  • While you're out, be aware of your surroundings and the tide's direction.
  • Always carry a means of calling for help.
  • In an emergency call 999 or 112– if you are at sea or on the beach ask for the coastguard
  • If you do find yourself in the water unexpectedly, Float To Live: Tilt your head back with ears submerged, relax and try to control your breathing, move your hands to help you stay afloat and once you are over the initial shock, call for help or swim to safety

Notes to editors

· Video of the rescue from the perspective of Kevin Taggart can be downloaded from:

· Volunteer crew member Kevin Taggart is available for interviews on request.

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.