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Fresh warnings of rip currents as teenagers rescued in St Agnes

The teenagers were swept out to sea in St Agnes. Photo: RNLI

There's a fresh warning about rip currents after two swimmers were rescued in St Agnes. The teenagers were spotted being swept out to sea at Trevaunance Cove and were lucky to have an off duty RNLI Manager and his daughter on site.

Steve Instance, who is the South West's Community Safety Partner, as well as being a qualified lifeguard and shore crew at St Agnes, had been swimming on the beach earlier with his eleven year old daughter Brooke and they were warming up in the clubhouse of the St Agnes Surf Lifesaving Club. Brooke, was looking out of the window and spotting the teenagers in difficulty alerted her dad, who rang 999 to get the lifeboat launched and then grabbed a lifeboard from the club and dived into the sea to paddle out to the boys in large seas to keep them afloat.

"When I got out to them they were very cold and very tired and one of them was quite panicky. It would have been tricky for them to get back onto the shore with the surf conditions, so we needed the lifeboat to get them back safely."

– Steve Instance

The casualties were pulled onboard the lifeboat and brought safely back to shore. Thankfully, due to the rapid actions of Steve, Brooke and the speedy launch of the St. Agnes lifeboat, nobody was injured in the incident. Following the incident Steve Instance praised his daughter:

"I was busy making a cup of tea and she immediately recognised there was a problem. Her training at the club just clicked in and she gave me the exact information I needed and pointed out where the boys were.

She did a cracking job, she did the right thing at the right time, I'm very proud of her."

– Steve Instance

In the UK, the majority of RNLI Lifeguard incidents involve rip currents. They are a major cause of accidental drowning on beaches all across the world. Rips are strong currents running out to sea, which can quickly drag people and debris away from the shallows of the shoreline and out to deeper water.

How to spot and avoid a rip current:

  • Rip currents can be difficult to spot, but are sometimes identified by a channel of churning, choppy water on the sea's surface.
  • Even the most experienced beachgoers can be caught out by rips, so don’t be afraid to ask lifeguards for advice. They will show you how you can identify and avoid rips.
  • The best way to avoid rips is to choose a lifeguarded beach and always swim between the red and yellow flags, which have been marked based on where is safer to swim in the current conditions. This also helps you to be spotted more easily, should something go wrong.

If you do find yourself caught in a rip:

  • Don’t try to swim against it or you’ll get exhausted.
  • If you can stand, wade don’t swim.
  • If you can, swim parallel to the shore until free of the rip and then head for shore.
  • Always raise your hand and shout for help.