Dramatic footage shows moment swimmer is rescued from the Bristol Channel

The RNLI has released dramatic footage of the moment a woman was rescued from the Bristol Channel to highlight the dangers of swimming in cold water.Clevedon Coastguard Rescue Team and Portishead RNLI were called out in December 2020 to reports of a lone swimmer in difficulties in the icy waters of Clevedon Bay.Other swimmers raised the alarm after becoming concerned about the woman who had entered the water by Marine Lake and was planning to swim to the pier.Portishead RNLI crews pulled the woman from the water and took her ashore where she was met by coastguard crews.The woman was wrapped in blankets and a survival bag and stretchered to a waiting ambulance and taken to hospital for treatment.Portishead RNLI has now released the footage of the rescue, captured on their helmet cameras, to warn others of the dangers of swimming in the channel at a time when water temperatures are low.A spokesman for Portishead RNLI said: “Friends on the beach were able to raise the alarm as she was overdue and had been in the water quite some time for that time of year.“You can see our swimmer was clear to see and easy for our volunteer crew to spot in the water. It was a good outcome.“The benefits of outdoor swimming are well documented, but please be aware of any risks before you enter the water particularly if you are new to our area or are thinking of giving it a go for the first time.”

The woman was wrapped in blankets and a survival bag and stretchered to a waiting ambulance and taken to hospital for treatment. Credit: RNLI

The RNLI is urging people to follow these simple steps to stay safe inthe water:

  • Never swim alone, always go with someone else to a familiar spot

  • Always check the weather forecast, including tide information and wave height

  • If in doubt, stay out, there is always another day to go for a swim

  • Take plenty of warm clothes for before and after your dip, along with a hot drink to help you warm up again when you come out of the water

  • Wearing a wetsuit will help increase your buoyancy and reduce the chances of suffering cold water shock

  • Be seen – wear a brightly coloured swim cap and consider using a tow float

  • Acclimatise to the water temperature slowly – never jump straight in

  • Stay in your depth and know your limits

  • If you get into trouble remember FLOAT to live by leaning back in the water, extending your arms and legs, and resisting the urge to thrash around to gain control of your breathing

  • Take a mobile phone in a waterproof pouch

Read more: