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'I could've been one of the drowning statistics'

Today sees the launch of the RNLI's Respect The Water campaign which is highlighting the risk of drowning around the coast of Wales and the rest of the UK.

It's being backed by 21-year-old Thomas Redmond, from Briton Ferry, who was saved by Port Talbot RNLI crew last month when his kayak overturned at Aberavon beach.

RNLI Port Talbot
Thomas returned to Port Talbot station to thank the crew for helping him Credit: RNLI

He was tipped into the sea when his kayak began filling up with water.

As he clung to the kayak’s side, five men saw he was in trouble and attempted to swim to his aid.

"I consider myself to be quite strong but I was completely overcome by the water. I can swim but there is no way I would have been able to make it to the shore by myself.

"I never quite realised how a relaxing day at the seaside could go so wrong.

"I could have well been one of the drowning statistics; things could have been a lot worse. I would urge people to take heed of the RNLI’s safety advice and take extra care on the coast."

– Thomas Redmon


More deaths on Welsh coast than in cycling accidents

The RNLI says more people lost their lives on the Welsh coast than in cycling accidents.

In total, 17 people died last year, and 65 were rescued by lifeboats and lifeguards.

Hereford lifeboat
The RNLI says slips and falls are a common issue Credit: Nicholas Leach

Since 2010, a total of 70 people have died around Wales' coast.

Adult men accounted for 73% of them.

Today the RNLI launches its Respect the Water campaign, aimed especially at men, to try and bring these figures down.

Nationally, an average of 160 people die at the coast each year. The RNLI is aiming to halve accidental coastal deaths by 2024.

RNLI: How to stay safe along the coast this summer

Nicola Davies, the RNLI’s Coastal Safety Manager in Wales says:

"Of course we want people to go to the coast and enjoy it – we’re lucky to have an exceptional coastline around Wales – but we want people to understand there are risks, and that they should not underestimate the power of the sea."

Advice from the RNLI on how to stay safe along the Welsh coastline:

  • Choose a lifeguarded beach and swim between the red and yellow flags, where you’ll have professional lifeguards looking out for you.
  • If you want a few drinks in the sun on the beach, remember that alcohol and water don’t mix, so drink after swimming, not before.
  • Despite warm air temperatures, the UK sea temperature is cold enough year-round to trigger cold water shock, so acclimatise gradually in shallow water.
  • If you get caught in a rip current, don’t panic or try to swim against it; swim parallel to the shore until you’re free. To avoid falls, stay away from cliff edges, stick to pathways and read safety signs.’

Beached baby porpoise rescued and returned to sea

Volunteer crew members from Criccieth's RNLI lifeboat station assisted in the rescue of a young porpoise calf.

The baby porpoise was returned to the sea by the RNLI. Credit: RNLI

The calf had become separated from its mother and was beached on Black Rock sands by the time the lifeboat arrived. Two lifeboat crew members entered the water and walked ashore before taking the calf on-board the lifeboat, says the RNLI.

Once safely on-board, the lifeboat sailed to the area where its mother had last been spotted and placed back into the water. The lifeboat then retreated and watched the calf swim away.

Dog rescued on the Gower after falling down cliffs

The dog was unharmed and was later returned to its owner. Credit: RNLI

A dog was rescued by the RNLI yesterday after it had fallen from the cliffs and into the water at Mewslade Bay on the Gower.

Crews were alerted to the incident at around 6:30pm yesterday evening after they could see the dog swimming in the water, unable to climb back up onto the cliffs.

A lifeboat had to be launched and one crew member was put ashore to rescue the dog, whose owner was standing at the top of the cliffs.

The dog was not harmed in the incident and was later reunited with its owner who was very emotional and extremely grateful to the crew for saving his pet.


9-year-old girl rescued from rocks at Aberaeron

The RNLI rescuers were able to climb inside the rock and cut the girl's boot, releasing her from the sea defence rocks Credit: RNLI

A nine-year-old girl was rescued by lifeboat crews from Newquay earlier this evening, after getting her foot stuck between rocks at Aberaeron.

Crews were called out at five o'clock just as the tide was starting to come in.

It was the first call out for 17-year-old RNLI volunteer Tom Evans, the youngest member of the team.

A spokesperson for the RNLI said:

"We commend the bravery of the crew member who removed his jacket and helmet and crawled down into a tight space between sea defence rocks and managed to cut the girl's boot to allow him to pull her out."

"He is the youngest crew member at the station and it was his first proper rescue situation. He performed very well under the direction of the station mechanic."

The girl, who was from the local area, was taken to hospital for routine checks.

Lifeguards return to more beaches

Lifeguards are on duty 10am-6pm. Credit: Barry Batchelor/PA Wire

RNLI lifeguards will be on duty for the summer season from today at more beaches in Pembrokeshire, Ceredigion and the Vale of Glamorgan.

They will patrol Amroth, Aberystwyth South, Clarach, Borth and Southerndown beaches working in partnership with local councils.

The charity says there have already been numerous rescues as people enjoy recent the hot weather.

Lifeguards return to more beaches

Broad Haven basks in the sunshine. Credit: David Davies/PA Wire

As the fine weather continues RNLI lifeguards are returning to some of Wales' most popular beaches in Pembrokeshire and Ceredigion.

They will be on duty, in partnership with Pembrokeshire County Council, at Poppit Sands, Newport, Broad Haven, Newgale south, Saundersfoot, Tenby north, Tenby Castle and Freshwater west beach for the summer season.

Further north in Ceredigion, the charity's lifeguards will be ready at their posts at Aberporth, Tresaith and Aberystwyth North as they continue to work alongside Ceredigion County Council in the seasonal service.

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