The RNLI ‘Respect the Water’ campaign

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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 http://www.brightontogs.com

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 www.brightontogs.com

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.

RNLI lifeguard patrols finish for Summer the season

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The RNLI is advising people to take care around the South West coastline this autumn as lifeguard cover officially comes to an end on Sunday (30 September).

As lifeguards prepare to pack up for the winter, the charity will maintain patrols at weekends and half term in October on the region’s 12 busiest beaches. This weekend (Sunday 30 September) sees the official end of the RNLI lifeguard season in Cornwall, Devon, Dorset and Jersey. Lifeguard cover will continue on 12 of the busiest beaches across the region during weekends in October and throughout the school half term break. These beaches include Praa Sands, Gwithian, Porthmeor, Porthtowan, Perranporth, Polzeath, Widemouth and Summerleaze in Cornwall and Bantham, Croyde and Woolacombe in Devon.
For the second year running Fistral will have full time cover during October and will also be patrolled during weekends in November by volunteer lifeguards.
RNLI Lifeguard Inspector Steve Instance says;

“This year has been another busy season for RNLI lifeguards on beaches around the south west as the teams have dealt with a range of incidents from major and minor first aids, lost children, and numerous rescues of people in difficulty in the water. Thanks to additional funding from local authorities and private beach owners, the charity is again able to extend the lifeguard season into October on a selection of beaches providing safety cover for those looking to prolong the summer season and enjoy the favourable surf conditions that autumn brings. We encourage people heading to the coast at weekends and during half term to visit these beaches where the charity’s lifesavers will be on hand to keep people safe, offering useful advice to help prevent accidents and a rapid reaction if something does go wrong”.

The charity’s volunteer RNLI lifeboat crews remain on call 24 hours a day ready to respond to anyone in difficulty around the coast.

It is essential that people are aware of the dangers and know how to look after themselves in the water to prevent incidents.
We’d recommend that people take note of the safety signage at the entrance to the beach, always go with a friend or tell someone on the shore where they are going and be aware of the conditions and their own capabilities in the water.

If water users should find themselves in difficulty they should keep hold of their surf or bodyboard as it’ll help keep them afloat. Walkers should also find out about the local tide times and avoid visiting more remote parts of the shoreline when the tide is coming in.
More beach safety advice can be found at www.rnli.org.uk