Dozens of grateful

By | July 26, 2017

This is a scenario that lifeguards at Bantham and on scores of Westcountry beaches witness regularly throughout the summer.Dozens of grateful holidaymakers have seen RNLI lifeguard Luke Lane Prokopiou racing towards them on his board, shouting: “I’m a lifeguard here to help you. Grab on.”

I am in the water to experience it first hand, watched over by a small team of lifeguards who are determined not to let me drown.In what seems like no time at all I have been swept well out to sea, able to catch a glimpse of the beach only from the crest of each passing wave.

At last the rip weakens and dies and I’m adrift, waiting for my lift back to shore on the RNLI rib.Last year, 33 people died in Westcountry tidal waters, and three quarters of them were adult men.More than a third of incidents dealt with by beach lifeguards are people caught in rip currents.

Ryan Hooper, Bantham estate manager, says: “Each year we have incidents where the RNLI has to assist people who have been caught in a rip.”The strongest advice we can give is to always swim when the RNLI is on duty, always swim between the flags, and pay attention to what the RNLI says.

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