The RNLI ‘Respect the Water’ campaign


Despite the best efforts of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution’s volunteer crews and lifeguards –  Did you know that around 150 people still lose their lives around the UK coast each year, and around 80% are men?

….And are you aware that cold water shock occurs in water less than 15 degrees, but the average UK sea temperature is just 12?

Pictured L-R Back - Virginia Billcliff (RNLI Volunteer), Denise Cobb (Brighton and Hove Mayor), James Haskell (Wasps and England Rugby Player) and Dan Gurr (RNLI Volunteer).

Denise Cobb (Brighton and Hove Mayor), James Haskell (Wasps and England Rugby Player) and RNLI volunteers Supporting Respect the Water campaign. Picture by Brighton Togs

You may also be surprised to know that just one metre cubed of water weighs a tonne, and that is not a lot of water. Although as water safety professionals some of this may seem obvious, our research shows that many of those most at risk underestimate such facts, and therefore put themselves in situations of increased and unnecessary risk.

These findings underpinned a new RNLI coastal safety campaign called ‘Respect the Water’ last summer to help raise awareness about dangers of drowning and general risks around the coast. The campaign was piloted in the South-East of England during August and was launched in Brighton by England rugby star James Haskell who kindly gave his time for free to support the RNLI.

The campaign consisted of traditional outdoor posters and PR activity, but also a combination of radio adverts, digital banners and specially designed pint glasses and beer mats to warn about the dangers of drinking and swimming. An experiential road show visited three key locations and included a custom built ‘tonne of water’ and water filled punch bag to engage with adult men, those who are most at risk of drowning.  The campaign used facts, real stories and local content to it interesting and relevant, challenging that alpha male bravado which is often associated with keeping safe around water. Even though you are tough and strong, could you push yourself against a tonne of water, or how long could you fight against the water, the opponent that will never tire?

Pictured L-R: Denise Cobb (Brighton and Hove Mayor) and James Haskell (Wasps and England Rugby Player). They were today supporting Respect the Water.

Pictured L-R: Denise Cobb (Brighton and Hove Mayor) and James Haskell (Wasps and England Rugby Player). They were today supporting Respect the Water. Picture by Brighton Togs

We are proud to announce the pilot won three prestigious DMA awards (Direct Marketing Association) in December, with gold for best use of experiential, two bronze for best media strategy and best use of copy, and a nomination for best creative solution. The campaign was completing against international brands such as Virgin Holidays, 02, Honda, Unicef, Unilever, EE and IBM to name a few, so we are delighted with such recognition so early on in the development of the campaign.

The plan for 2014 is to increase coverage to a national scale around the coastline of the UK, with focused activity in up to ten locations identified by the RNLI as areas of significant risk and a high number of incidents.

Written by: Ross MacLeod, Coastal Safety Manager (Marketing), the Royal National Lifeboat Institution.

Coastguard rescue two families cut off by tide in N.Yorkshire

Two families have been rescued from Primrose Valley beach after being cut off by the high tide last night. Humber Coastguard received a 999 call at 6.45pm from a local security guard, telling them that three adults and three children had gone out for a walk along the beach, but had become lost. They couldn’t find their way back in the dark and were cut off by the high tide.
After setting off flares to light up the area, the RNLI inshore lifeboat managed to locate one of the adults and two of the children and get them safely onboard. The other two adults and the other child were rescued by RAF Leconfield, and winched to the top of the cliff where the Filey Coastguard Rescue Team was waiting. They were all checked over by paramedics, and although cold they didn’t require any medical attention. Lynda Hillerby, Humber Coastguard Watch Officer, said:

“We strongly recommend you check the weather and tidal conditions before you set out. You should consider whether you could become cut off and do not take risks by going out in the dark. You should also make sure you’re wearing warm clothing and sturdy shoes or boots. If you get into difficulty, call 999 and ask for the coastguard.”

Young men rescued from the incoming tide

Two young men were rescued tonight after they were cut off by the tide as they walked from Southport to Crosby. Liverpool Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre received a 999 call from a member of the public at 8.10pm reporting that the two men were on a thin sandbank at the mouth of the River Alt. The Crosby Coastguard Rescue Team, the RNLI hovercraft and Inshore Lifeboat from New Brighton and the Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service went straight to the scene. The RNLI hovercraft rescued two men at just before 8.45pm. Liverpool Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre Watch Manager Paul Parkes said:
“These two young men were very lucky as the water had come in up to their knees by the time they were rescued. Our advice is to always check the weather and tide times before you set out. Please don’t take risks and think about whether you could be cut-off before you reach your destination”.

Lifejacket warning from Swansea Coastguard

At 4.20pm Swansea Coastguard received a report that a grounded yacht with ten people on board was in difficulty on the Wrach Channel in Cardiff Bay. The 34 foot sailing yacht had gone aground on its passage through the Wrach Channel to the Locks. There were three children on board and seven adults. Swansea Coastguard Watch Manager David Jones said,
“There was concern for the safety of those on board the grounded yacht and there were not enough life jackets. It is vital that when going afloat you carry enough life jackets for everyone on board and make sure that your crew know what to do in an emergency.

1. Carrying a VHF radio on your vessel is vital and VHF DSC (Digital Selective Calling) is strongly recommended. Ensure your radio equipment is fully working and you know what to do in an emergency. With DSC you can send a distress alert along with your exact position, with one touch of the button. The distress alert is repeated every four minutes until it is acknowledged either by a Coastguard Station (Ship to Shore) or by a vessel (Ship to Ship) within radio range.

2. Maritime Mobile Service Identity (MMSI) numbers are programmed into a DSC radio set and an MMSI is issued as part of your radio licence application, via Ofcom. It consists of a series of nine digits, which are used to uniquely identify the radio on your vessel.

3. The MCA is a partner in the Sea Vision UK campaign to raise awareness and understanding of the sea and maritime activities. Sea Vision promotes the importance and economic value of the sector and works to highlight the exciting range of activities and career opportunities available to young people within the UK growing maritime sector.

4. Stay safe – before heading out on the water get trained, check weather and tides, wear a lifejacket, avoid alcohol and keep in touch”
Read more on the MCA website…

Coastguard warning of coastal dangers after three cliff incidents in two days

After three separate cliff incidents of people getting cut off by the tide in only two days the Coastguard is urging people to check the tides as all three incidents were avoidable.
Ros Evans, Watch Manager, Portland Coastguard said:
“All of these incidents could have been avoided, if people check the tides. We currently have high spring tides at the moment, and we have also had several areas where the cliff structure is changing due to the natural effects of the weather.
We would remind anyone going on a visit to the beach, to make sure they check the tide times and heed any warning signs relevant to the area they are visiting. Areas of the coast that have a history of unstable cliffs have warning signs displayed for that reason. Please make sure you if you are visiting these areas, that you read them and understand what they mean”.
In you see anyone in trouble at the coast, call 999 and ask for the Coastguard.  Read more on the MCA website…

Strong winds prove too much for kite surfers

Today’s strong winds and rough seas have created conditions that have really proved too much for the ability of some kite surfers around the East Anglian coast. Yarmouth Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre was alerted three times this afternoon, to assist kite surfers in difficulties around the Hunstanton area. The Hunstanton Coastguard Rescue Team and the Hunstanton RNLI Lifeboat were sent to each incident. The Ambulance Paramedic, the Air Ambulance, and a land Ambulance were sent to the third incident where a Kite surfer was taken to Hospital.
Mario Siano, Yarmouth Coastguard Watch Manager said:
“I know that kite surfers enjoy extreme conditions but with a severe weather warning was out and winds were gusting to more than 50 miles an hour. My best advice is make sure you get weather information before you take to the water and dont go out in conditions that are beyond your experience”.
Stay safe – before heading out on the water get trained, check weather and tides, wear a lifejacket, avoid alcohol and keep in touch. Read more on the MCA website…

Cut off by the tide

A man in his thirties got cut off by the tide at Countisbury Cove, Devon this afternoon. Swansea Coastguard received a call from the man’s friend at a nearby shop informing them that his friend had climbed down to the shoreline and was now stranded. Coastguard Rescue officers from Lynmouth were sent to the area and the Rescue helicopter from RAF Chivenor was scrambled.
David Jones, Watch Manager, Swansea Coastguard, says: “We would like to remind the public if you are not familiar with the stretch of coastline you are visiting to check the weather and tidal conditions before you set out, so that you can prepare accordingly. This will prevent you from becoming cut off by the tide and not put you at risk. If in doubt contact the coastguard or in an emergency ring 999 and ask for the coastguard”. Read more on the MCA website…

RNLI Lifeguards return to Pembrokeshire beaches

As Pembrokeshire prepares to welcome the Olympic Torch to the county this weekend, RNLI lifeguards are making final checks and preparations as they return to Tenby South and Whitesands beaches this Saturday (26 May). The charity’s lifeguards will be at their posts from 10am-6pm ready to offer safety advice and assistance on the county’s busiest beaches for the summer season.

Last year RNLI lifeguards at Whitesands in St Davids responded to 140 incidents over the summer, while their colleagues responded to 85 incidents on Tenby South beach. The charity’s lifeguards will be at their posts to offer advice and assistance everyday between 10am-6pm from Saturday (26 May) until Sunday 2 September.

Stuart Thompson, RNLI Lifeguard Manager said: “RNLI lifeguards have been busy completing vital training and passing fitness tests over the past few weeks as they prepare to return to Pembrokeshire beaches this weekend. Whitesands and Tenby South beach are two of our busiest beaches within the country, and I know the lifeguards are looking forward to returning to their post to offer safety advice and assistance to members of the public once again this summer.”

Before visiting the beach this summer, the RNLI advises the public to bear in mind some vital safety tips to help ensure that no mishaps are likely to ruin their day: 

  1. Always swim between the red and yellow flags at a lifeguarded beach.
  2. ever use inflatables in strong winds or rough seas.
  3. Check times of high and low tide before you visit the beach. Alternatively ask a lifeguard.
  4. If you get into trouble, stick your hand in the air and shout for help.
  5. If you see someone else in trouble, tell a lifeguard. If you can’t see a lifeguard, call 999 or 112 and ask for the Coastguard.

For more information on beach safety please visit

RNLI lifeguards will return to a further 10 of Pembrokeshire’s beaches from 23 June for the summer holidays.Read more on the RNLI website..

Illegal cocklers apprehended at Burry Inlet

Officers from Environment Agency Wales have apprehended nine people for illegal cockling on the Bury Inlet near Llanrhidian, Swansea. Acting on information gathered, Agency officers, supported by South Wales Police, carried out an  investigation into illegal cockling in the area. During the investigation, nine local people were found in possession of cockles taken from the beds illegally. They have now been reported for fisheries offences and face possible legal action. More than four tones of cockles were seized but could not be returned to the cockle beds due to to the tide. Lyn Richards, from Environment Agency Wales said:

“This type of illegal activity threatens the livelihood of licensed cocklers and can be incredibly dangerous to people who may be unfamiliar with the tides. We strongly advise people not to try and take cockles illegally as they put themselves at risk of harm and of being prosecuted. Support from South Wales Police was vital to the success of this investigation.”
Read more on the Environment Agency website…

RNLI issue safety advice ahead of the Bank Holiday weekend

As the region gears up for the May Day Bank Holiday weekend, the RNLI lifeguards and the volunteer lifeboat crews in the South West are urging people heading to the coast to heed the charity’s essential safety advice. Despite one of the wettest Aprils on record, the charity that saves lives at sea is expecting a busy Bank Holiday weekend as the RNLI lifeguards start their Summer safety patrols on 34 beaches across Cornwall, Devon and Dorset. Steve Instance, RNLI Divisional Lifeguard Inspector says;
“After a two week stint on some of the most popular beaches over the Easter period, the RNLI are now starting their full time patrols for the Summer season. We’re hopeful for some sunshine, but whatever the weather throws at us, we can expect the beaches to be busy as determined visitors and locals enjoy their holiday time. We’d urge beach goers to head to one of the 34 RNLI lifeguarded beaches and to swim and bodyboard in the supervised area marked out by the red and yellow flags. Try and stay within your depth and follow the lifeguard’s advice. If you get into trouble, stick your hand in the air and shout for help. If you see someone else in trouble, tell a lifeguard, or if you can’t see a lifeguard, call 999 or 112 and ask for the Coastguard.”
In particular Steve advises people to check local tide times before setting off to avoid the risk of being cut off. He says;
“Tide times are available through the media, at the local lifeboat stations, harbour offices and at the entrance to all RNLI lifeguarded beaches or by searching your nearest beach online. Always take a means of calling for help in case you should get caught out”. Read more on the RNLI website…