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RNLI safety advice helps save lives

Swim England News

A teenager who found himself struggling in the sea says advice from the RNLI helped to save his life.

The RNLI’s national drowning prevention campaign, Respect the Water, urges anyone who finds themselves in trouble in cold water to stay calm and “float”.

In 2017, 16 year-old, Evan Chrisp was playing with friends when he was swept out to sea.

He said: “I was jumping over waves with friends and got swept out to sea. I tried to fight the water and swim hard, but I quickly realised this wasn’t working and I was in serious danger.

“I remembered the RNLI’s advice to float on my back and this helped me catch my breath and calm down before then trying to swim to safety.

“Thankfully I made it to a nearby yacht. My dad had watched me get in to trouble from the shore and had called 999 for the Coastguard. Ultimately I think the RNLI’s advice to float saved my life.”

Simple survival skill

For those planning to go into the water, the RNLI says the best way to enjoy it safely is to choose a lifeguarded beach and swim between the red and yellow flags – the area most closely monitored by the lifeguards.

And if you see someone else in danger in the water at the coast, fight your instinct to go in and try to rescue them yourself. Instead call 999 or 112 and ask for the Coastguard.

Ross Macleod, RNLI spokesperson says: “Losing someone to drowning is a shattering experience, so I am very pleased several people said the RNLI’s Respect the Water “float” advice helped them survive in a dangerous situation in the water last year.

“I’m also encouraged by the 2017 coastal fatality figure as it is lower than in previous years. We are hopeful that our safety campaigning and education work has contributed to a reduction in coastal deaths.”

This year, the charity is calling on the public to practice the “float” survival skill.

The RNLI say it’s a simple skill that could mean the difference between life and death and it is also asking people to share this knowledge with others.