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Teenager thanks off-duty RNLI lifeguard and surfers for saving her life

Lifeguards News Release

A teenager from North Devon has thanked an off-duty RNLI lifeguard and other surfers who saved her life after she was dragged out to sea in a strong rip current.

Beth Tack,17, and her stepdad Sam Stribling were paddling at Croyde Beach last Monday (6 June) evening when a powerful rip current began pulling them away from the shore towards rocks at the southern end of the beach.

The pair attempted to swim back to the shore unsuccessfully and were soon struggling to keep their heads above the water.

Beth said: ‘I was playing around in the surf, we weren’t very far out; the water was only up to my waist. I didn’t realise we were in a rip current right away, I just noticed that suddenly I couldn’t touch the bottom, it happened in seconds. I tried to grab on to my stepdad, but the rip pulled us apart.

‘I was really panicking then, I started to wave my hands and shout for help, but I could hardly keep my head out of the water.’

RNLI lifeguard Beau Bromham had finished patrols for the day and was helping with Croyde Surf Club at the beach when he spotted the family in difficulty. He headed over to them on his surf board and found three nearby surfers had already managed to reach the pair and let them hold on to their boards, but they were also being pulled out by the rip current.

Beau managed to reassure Beth and put her onto his surf board before paddling her back to the shore. He then returned to the other surfers who all helped to bring Sam back to beach together on their boards.

Beau said: ‘The rip current at that end of the beach is really powerful; it can drag people out to sea within seconds. When I got to Beth she was really panicking so I tried to calm her down and talk her through what was happening.
‘Luckily there were surfers nearby who got to Beth and Sam really quickly and we all managed to work together to make sure they got back to the beach safely.’

Beth added: ‘I want to thank Beau and all the surfers who came to help us that night. If the lifeguard and surfers hadn’t got to me when they did, I don’t think I would be here.’

RNLI Lifeguard Manager, Phil Hill, said it is important to respect the water.

‘The sea can be dangerously unpredictable. Rip currents can be hard to spot for the untrained eye, in some cases appearing like the calmest place to swim but the reality is very different.

‘The sea is powerful and can catch out even the strongest and most experienced swimmers. We advise everyone to swim at a lifeguarded beach during patrol hours. Our lifeguards are trained professionals and can advise beachgoers where the safe swimming areas are.’

If you do get caught in a rip current, the charity’s advice is:
• stay calm – don’t panic
• if you can stand, wade don’t swim
• keep hold of your board or inflatable to help you float
• raise your hand and shout for help
• never try to swim directly against the rip or you’ll get exhausted
• swim parallel to the beach until free of the rip, then make for shore

If you see anyone else in trouble, alert the lifeguards or call 999 and ask for the Coastguard.

RNLI lifeguards are on patrol from 10-6pm daily. To find your nearest lifeguarded beach visit RNLI.org. For more information on how to stay safe visit RNLI.org/RespectTheWater.

Notes to editors
• Photo shows RNLI lifeguard Beau Bromham with Beth Tack at Croyde beach, credit RNLI.


RNLI media contacts
For further information, please contact either Chlӧe Smith, RNLI Press Officer, on 07920 818807 or email chloe_smith@rnli.org.uk or Emma Haines, RNLI Public Relations Manager, on 07786 668847 or email emma_haines@rnli.org.uk.

 

Key facts about the RNLI

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution is the charity that saves lives at sea. Our volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service in the United Kingdom and Ireland from 238 lifeboat stations, including four along the River Thames and inland lifeboat stations at Loch Ness, Lough Derg, Enniskillen and Lough Ree. Additionally the RNLI has more than 1,000 lifeguards on over 240 beaches around the UK and operates a specialist flood rescue team, which can respond anywhere across the UK and Ireland when inland flooding puts lives at risk.

The RNLI relies on public donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. As a charity it is separate from, but works alongside, government-controlled and funded coastguard services. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824 our lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved at least 140,000 lives. Volunteers make up 95% of the charity, including 4,600 volunteer lifeboat crew members and 3,000 volunteer shore crew. Additionally, tens of thousands of other dedicated volunteers raise funds and awareness, give safety advice, and help in our museums, shops and offices.

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Contacting the RNLI - public enquiries

Members of the public may contact the RNLI on 0300 300 9990 or by email.

 

The RNLI is a charity registered in England and Wales (209603) and Scotland (SC037736). Charity number 20003326 in the Republic of Ireland