Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Busy weekend for Jersey RNLI lifeguards

Photo shows RNLI lifeguards and Jersey Fire and Rescue Service helping a teenager who fell from rocks at St Brelade’s Bay. Credit Jersey Fire and Rescue

I've received this press release today from the Jersey RNLI (see below), which I'm putting out on my blog about incidents this weekend, with a few comments first about safety:


The teenager who fell at the weekend was "coastering". The relatively new adventure activity of coasteering is all about getting wet swimming and jumping and scrambling round rocks. It’s also a great way to experience the wonders of the natural coastline.

The Website "Safe Water Sports" says:

"Coasteering is a wild fusion of rock climbing, scrambling, swimming and cliff jumping and a full on adrenalin activity guaranteed to get the heart throbbing and the blood rushing. It is a primitive activity with no equipment such as ropes or climbing harnesses, just basic safety wear, enabling total freedom of movement."

"Coasteering is potentially very dangerous if not carried out under the supervision of qualified and experienced instructors and should not be tackled independently."

Please take note!


Rip Currents

I've seen someone in difficulty in St Brelade's Bay caught out by a rip current one Easter, and it was only the swift action from a lifeguard from L'Horizon's Swimming Pool which stopped the swimmer being dragged out to sea.

A rip current, commonly referred to simply as a rip, or by the misnomer "rip tide", is one specific kind of water current that can be found near beaches. It is a strong, localized, and rather narrow current of water. It is strongest near the surface of the water, and it moves directly away from the shore, cutting through the lines of breaking waves.

Rip currents can be hazardous to people who are in the water. Swimmers or floaters who are caught in a rip and who do not understand what is going on, may not have the necessary water skills, may panic, or may exhaust themselves by trying to swim directly against the flow of water. 

Because of these factors, rips are the leading cause of rescues by lifeguards at beaches, and in the US rips are responsible for an average of 46 deaths from drowning each year.

As the press release says, talk to the lifeguards on duty about the sea conditions before going into the water.

Press Release: Busy weekend for Jersey RNLI lifeguards

RNLI lifeguards in Jersey had a busy few days this weekend, going to the aid of a teenager involved in a coasteering accident and rescuing seven people from strong rip currents.

On Sunday (23 August) RNLI lifeguards were alerted by the Coastguard that a 15-year-old girl had been injured after falling around 10 metres from a cliff top at St Brelade’s Bay landing on rocks below.

Lifeguards Ford Ramsden, Tom Buttel, Nathan Fogg and Cara Mallory-Vibert were first on the scene and managed to stabilise the casualty.

Jersey Fire and Rescue Service arrived at the scene in an inshore boat with a paramedic who administered further first aid, before the casualty was transported to the boat on an RNLI inshore rescue board. She was transported back to the bay to a waiting ambulance.

Rob Stuteley RNLI Lifeguard Supervisor said: ‘It was not a straight forward rescue, so the team did extremely well and responded to the incident quickly. The services worked well together to ensure the casualty was safely removed from the rocks and taken for further care.’

On Saturday (22 August) RNLI lifeguards at St Ouen’s rescued seven people after they got into difficulty in strong rip currents. Lifeguards were afloat on the rescue watercraft (RWC) for three hours guiding bathers away from the rip currents and back into the red and yellow flagged area.

RNLI Lifeguard Supervisor Will Glenn said: ‘With temperatures in the high 20’s the beaches were very busy over the weekend and there were a lot of people in the water. Lifeguards rescued a number of bodyboarders and surfers who got caught in rip currents and brought them safely back to the shore.

‘The rip currents at St Ouen’s can be very strong at times. We would advise that people talk to the lifeguards on duty about the sea conditions before going into the water and remember to swim or bodyboard between the red and yellow flags.

‘If you become caught in a rip current on a bodyboard, stay with your board, wave your hand and the lifeguards will come to assist.’

The RNLI’s Respect the Water campaign is running throughout the summer. To find out more about the dangers of the coast and how to stay safe, visit www.rnli.org/respectthewater or search #RespectTheWater on social media.

Key facts about the RNLI

The RNLI charity saves lives at sea. Its volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service around the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland coasts. The RNLI operates over 230 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and has more than 180 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK. 

Since the RNLI was founded in 1824 its lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved 140,000 lives.

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