The RNLI has issued a major warning to beach-goers after a series of dramatic sea rescues. Over two days this week RNLI lifeboats were launched more than 20 times across the South West. Children were among 24 people rescued from the water by lifeguards at Croyde beach in North Devon on Tuesday prompting fears that locals and holiday-makers aren't taking beach safety seriously.
Bathers and bodyboarders were caught in strong rip currents off the Devon coast. Children were dragged away from the beach and unable to make it back to shore in the conditions. The RNLI says the recent surge in rescues highlights why those going in the sea should use a lifeguarded beach.
– RUSSEL HARRISON, RNLI LIFEGUARD
The beach was extremely busy on Tuesday and the conditions outside the red and yellow flagged bathing area meant people were getting caught in the rip current and very quickly being dragged out of their depth. The lifeguard team worked together to ensure everybody was returned to shore swiftly.
Further highlighting the dangers of the sea this week was a desperate coastguard operation to keep a six-year-old child alive after getting into difficulty in the sea off the Dorset coast. Portland coastguard said the boy ‘momentarily stopped breathing’ before being airlifted to Dorchester Hospital. He remains in a serious condition and is being treated in Southampton.
With many people making the most of the good weather and the school summer holidays well underway, the RNLI is urging people to remain cautious of the dangers.
– Phil Hill, RNLI Divisional Lifeguard Manager
We’ve seen some perfect sunshine in the south west this week and as a result thousands of people have headed to the beach to make the most of the late arrival of summer. With that, lifeguards across the region have been kept very busy dealing with numerous incidents with everything from minor first aids and weaver fish stings, to rescuing people from rip currents and cut off by the tide, and providing emergency lifesaving first aid.
The RNLI has issued a list of tips to keep beachgoers safe.
Swim at a lifeguarded beach, between the red and yellow flags
Never use inflatables in strong winds or rough seas
Check weather and tide times before you go
If you get into trouble, stick your hand in the air and shout for help
If you see someone else in trouble, tell a lifeguard. If you can’t see a lifeguard, call 999 or 112 and ask for the Coastguard.