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Mother and child rescued after drifting out to sea in Sunderland

RNLI Lifeguards: Joe Wilson, Tom Hughes, Andrew Brown and Adam Blenkinsop Credit: RNLI/Lily Humphries

A mother and her 8-year-old child have been rescued off the coast of Seaburn in Sunderland after drifting out to sea on an inflatable paddleboard.

The charity’s lifeguards Adam Blenkinsop and Andrew Brown were in the sea training when they got the call out at 12.20pm on Thursday afternoon (8th August).

Adam and Andrew launched their Rescue Water Craft (RWC), while their colleague Tom Hughes paddled out with a rescue board.

The mother and child had been blown some 400 metres out to sea by the wind, and were struggling to make it back to shore.

Both were rescued by the RNLI crew and returned to the beach unharmed.

‘Owing to our swift response, we were able to rescue the mother and her son before they drifted further out to sea into danger.

Inflatables look like great fun but they can be very deceptive as if an off-shore wind takes hold, the craft can be carried far out to sea.

‘We had the orange sock flying yesterday which indicates an off-shore or strong wind and no inflatables.

We’d always advise people to respect the water by observing safety flags and visiting a lifeguarded beach.’

– RNLI Lifeguard, Adam Blenkinsop

The RNLI advises that blow-up toys and inflatables are designed for pools, not the sea where they can easily be swept out. If you do use them at the beach, then:

  • ensure children are closely supervised
  • keep near the shore
  • only use between the red and yellow beach flags
  • follow the lifeguard’s advice
  • do not take inflatables out in big waves
  • never use them when the orange windsock is flying, as this indicates offshore winds which will blow inflatables further out to sea
  • if you do get into difficulty, then stay with your inflatable as it will keep you above the water.