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RNLI launches Float to Live campaign 115 feet up in the London skyline

Lifeboats News Release

Today, the RNLI launched its Float to Live campaign together with Helly Hansen at Sky Pool, Embassy Gardens, demonstrating the survival skill in a transparent swimming pool, against an iconic London backdrop.

RNLI Lifeguard Dominik Fajkiel uses Float to Live in the Sky Pool at Embassy Gardens, London

RNLI/Photodrones

Today the RNLI launched Float to Live at Sky Pool, Embassy Gardens, London with support from Helly Hansen. Courtney Randino and Dominik Fajkiel demonstrated the Float to Live technique in the transparent swimming pool

The campaign has launched ahead of the busy half term holidays as it is revealed that 83% of the UK adult population (aged 16-64) expect to visit the coast this summer[2], and 40% expect to go three times or more.

Although beach leisure time has increased in the UK by nearly a third (28%) over the past three years[3], 10%[4] of people said the potential dangers associated with the water are something they don't think about often and 36%[5] of people don’t know what to do if they get into trouble in the water.

The RNLI is reminding everyone to remember Float to Live if they find themselves in trouble in water: 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, once you are through the initial shock, call for help to or swim to safety if you can.

This vital advice helped save Michael Whiteley, aged 65, from Scarbough when he got into trouble in the water earlier this year. Micheal, an experienced sea swimmer, found himself caught out by strong currents dragging him out of his depth when he went for a swim in his regular swimming spot. Before long, he knew he was in danger.

Michael said: ‘My friend and I only planned to go in the sea for about 10 minutes, and after treading water for about five minutes we found ourselves out of our depth and struggling to get back to shore. My friend, who is a lot younger and fitter than me, managed to get back to shore. I tried to swim too but the current was just too strong. I felt powerless and at the mercy of the sea.

‘I was confident my friend would call for help – which thankfully he did – and hoped the RNLI would soon rescue me. I had attended a couple of cold water swimming safety sessions run by the RNLI which was an absolute lifesaver. I knew how important it was not to exhaust myself and to float on my back until help arrived. This gave me vital time to calm down and preserve energy, although in the back of my mind I kept thinking, if I’m not found soon, I’m not going to make it.

‘I’d been in the water about 30 minutes and was getting very cold when I saw a RNLI lifeboat approaching – I felt so relieved knowing that they were here to rescue me. They pulled me onto the lifeboat and quickly got me ashore to an ambulance.’

Scarborough Lifeboat Station was tasked to the incident and crew members quickly helped get Michael to safety.

Gabbi Batchelor, Water Safety Education Manager at the RNLI said: ‘We are expecting the half-term holiday to be incredibly busy at the coast in the UK. We want everyone to enjoy being around the water but we also want to make sure people stay safe and know what to do in an emergency.

‘It is important that anyone visiting the coast understands the risks of the environment. We want to make sure people know what to do in an emergency. 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, once you are through the initial shock, call for help to or swim to safety if you can.

‘Michael’s story really highlights how important it is to know what to do if you get into trouble in the water, staying calm and floating on your back whilst you wait for help could save your life.’

Helly Hansen, a strategic partner of the RNLI facilitated the immersive event at Sky Pool, Embassy Gardens. As part of their commitment as a partner, Helly Hansen supports the RNLI to educate the public about the risk of drowning each year.

Emma Russell, Helly Hansen’s Marketing Manager for the UK and Ireland says, “Helly Hansen and the RNLI have been strategic partners since 2018 and each year we come together to educate those at risk of drowning. At Helly Hansen, helping people stay and feel alive through our gear is at our core. The RNLI’s Float to Live campaign is critical and we’re honoured to support them with the launch of this campaign at Sky Pool, Embassy Gardens, where the immersive experience gave the media a deeper meaning and real-life examples.”

Research by the RNLI and University of Portsmouth’s Extreme Environments Laboratory (EEL)[6] shows that floating is different for everyone, where some people naturally float with little movement, others require gentle use of their hands and legs to stay afloat. The technique has been tested in different open water environments, which shows that Float to Live is helpful both at the coast and in inland waters.

To Float to Live: If you find yourself in difficulty in the water:

· Tilt your head back with ears submerged

· Relax and try to control your breathing

· Use your hands to help you stay afloat

    • It's OK if your legs sink, we all float differently

There were 226 deaths in the UK from accidental drownings in 2022, across inland and coastal locations. Of the people who died 40 per cent had no intention of entering the water, such as those walking, with causes including slips, trips and falls, being cut off by the tide, or swept in by waves[7].

Visit RNLI.org/float2024 for more information.

[3] The Nursery - Water Sports Participation survey [Sabine please confirm this reference]

[4] Basis Research RNLI water safety Pre campaign survey 2024

[5] Basis Research RNLI water safety Pre campaign survey 2024

[6] RNLI and the University of Portsmouth’s Extreme Environments Laboratory (EEL)

[7] Drownings stat is from the WAID Water Incident Database (WAID), maintained by the National Water Safety Forum. To view and download the WAID 2022 report visit: https://www.nationalwatersafety.org.uk/waid

RNLI Lifeguard Dominik Fajkiel uses Float to Live in the Sky Pool at Embassy Gardens, London

RNLI/Nathan Williams

Today the RNLI launched Float to Live at Sky Pool, Embassy Gardens, London with support from Helly Hansen. Courtney Randino and Dominik Fajkiel demonstrated the Float to Live technique in the transparent swimming pool

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.

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