RNLI lifeguards and lifeboat volunteers were joined by Exmouth Fire Service, HM Coastguards, and the Hazardous Area Response team (HART) in joint sand training recently.
The exercise, on Exmouth beach, saw Exmouth RNLI’s volunteer crew and lifeguards collaborate with other organisations to educate each other on the capabilities of each crew and the kit that they carry in the event of sand hole collapses.
This followed an incident that occurred just a few weeks previously at Exmouth beach, where a teenager became close to drowning after he became trapped in a sand hole with an incoming tide. Alongside the RNLI lifesavers, fire crews and police, the HM Coastguard co-ordinated rescue eventually resulted in a successful outcome.
Exmouth’s RNLI Lifeguard Supervisor, Jake Butt said; ‘This incident was a prominent reminder of the dangers of digging deep sand holes, and demonstrated that they are at a high risk of collapse. Joining forces with other emergency organisations has been a great opportunity to learn different procedures from each other and ensure that we are well prepared to work together if an incident involving sand holes were to occur.’
Ahead of the peak lifeguard season start date on Saturday 8 July, the RNLI is urging beachgoers to be aware of the dangers of digging deep holes in the sand. Jake added;
‘Sand is extremely heavy, and with hot, dry weather it makes it more susceptible to collapsing. I advise anyone visiting the coast this summer to check the tide times and not to dig higher than your waist in the sand or enter deep holes on the beach.’
The RNLI is reminding the public to keep themselves and their families safe by following beach safety advice:
· Visit a lifeguarded beach and swim between the red and yellow flags.
· Check the weather forecast, tide times and read local hazard signage to understand local risks.
· Keep a close eye on your family – on the beach and in the water – don’t allow your family to swim alone.
· If you fall into the water unexpectedly, FLOAT TO LIVE. Fight your instinct to thrash around, lean back, extend your arms and legs, and float.
· In an emergency dial 999 and ask for the Coastguard
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