Sandhaven RNLI lifeguards rescue people dragged out to sea on giant inflatable

Lifeguards News Release

RNLI lifeguards at Sandhaven Beach grew concerned when a young male and female appeared to be in difficulty as the inflatable they were using was being taken out to sea, on Sunday 8 July.

Lifeguards orange windsock indicating offshore winds

RNLI/Nathan Williams

Lifeguards orange windsock indicating offshore winds

At around 2:30pm, a 24-year-old female and 27-year-old male appeared to be in trouble as their inflatable was being dragged out to sea. RNLI lifeguards immediately swung into action to assist the young couple, as the female had begun swimming back to shore and the male was trying to hang on to the inflatable.

The couple were around 40m off shore from Sandhaven Beach and were out on a giant flamingo inflatable, which was being taken further out to sea and outside of the red and yellow flags. Although there were no strong offshore winds, the size of the inflatable meant it wouldn’t have taken long for the pair to be dragged even further out.

One of the charity’s lifeguards, Alex Gray swam out on a rescue board to assist the male who was holding on to the inflatable and managed to support him onto the board before bringing him back to Sandhaven Beach. A second RNLI lifeguard, Fergus Scherczer, swam out with a rescue tube (a long flexible yellow tube that people can grab onto) to assist the young female who was becoming exhausted as she attempted to swim back.

Both casualties received aftercare from the lifeguards and an ambulance was called for the male as he required further medical attention due to taking in water.

RNLI Lifeguard Supervisor, Alex Richardson said: ‘The lifeguards did an amazing job and this is a strong example of how inflatables are not designed for the beach and can be very quickly blown offshore.

‘However, if you do wish to use one, they should be tethered to the shore on a lifeguarded beach and only used between the red and yellow flags. It is also important to avoid taking inflatables out in big waves, and you should never use them when the orange windsock is flying as this indicates that there are offshore winds which will blow inflatables further out to sea.’

The RNLI recently issued a safety warning to beachgoers as the heatwave had sparked numerous rescues involving inflatables, reminding people that these toys are designed for pools and not the sea.

Notes to editors

RNLI lifeguard patrols operate between 10am-6pm daily, however some areas can have slightly different times, or weekend schedules. The RNLI urges the public to make sure that they are heading to a lifeguarded beach, by visiting: https://rnli.org/find-my-nearest/lifeguarded-beaches

RNLI media contacts

For more information please contact Megan McBride, RNLI Media Engagement Placement North East and East, on 07391544363 or at: megan_mcbride@rnli.org.uk.



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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 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and more than 240 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK and Channel Islands. The RNLI is independent of Coastguard and government and depends on voluntary donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824, its lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved over 142,700 lives.

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