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Watergate Bay RNLI lifeguards complete mass rescue

Lifeguards News Release

RNLI lifeguards at Watergate Bay rescued five swimmers and assisted a further ten on Saturday afternoon (14 June).

RNLI/Jessica Putt

Watergate Bay RNLI lifeguards

At around 2:45pm Saturday afternoon, RNLI lifeguards noticed that swimmers had begun to drift outside of the red and yellow flags due to a strong current that had arisen as the low tide began pushing in.

Due to the topography of the beach at this stage of the tide, RNLI lifeguards Georgia Timson and Nick Hards were already patrolling the area between the red and yellow flags as a precaution. As soon as they spotted the drifting swimmers, they immediately paddled over on their rescue boards. It quickly became apparent that a large number of people needed help and over the next fifteen minutes the lifeguards rescued five swimmers and aided a further 10.

One of the individuals rescued was having an asthma attack which was causing him to panic. RNLI senior lifeguard Kerk Letham brought him back to shore and monitored him while he took his own inhaler.

Mark Priem, RNLI lifeguard supervisor for the area, said:

‘Whilst all the swimmers were doing the correct thing by swimming between the red and yellow flags, weather and tide conditions can suddenly change, as they did on Saturday which caused the swimmers to drift away from the flagged area.

This rescue comes only a few weeks after RNLI lifeguards at nearby Fistral beach aided 16 people caught in a rip current.

We suggest that all beachgoers visit a lifeguarded beach as we provide much greater safety for swimmers and water sports enthusiasts. We also advise to keep an eye on the flags whilst swimming in case conditions change and to ask the lifeguards on duty for any advice’

Notes to Editor

  • Photo attached: Watergate Bay RNLI lifeguards
  • RNLI lifeguards patrol over 249 beaches around the UK and Channel Islands

RNLI Media Contacts

For more information, please contact Jessica Putt, Media Engagement Placement, at or Amy Caldwell, Regional Media Manager, at

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, Carrybridge 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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