While driving to work at 9.30am, lifeguards Charlie Florey and Ben Evans observed what they thought was someone in difficulty in a large rip current 200m out to sea off Perran Sands beach, Perranporth.
Using their PA system, they called to the casualty and asked him to raise his hand if he was in trouble but there was no response.
Weather conditions at the time were overcast with a 1.6-2m surf, a Force 1 onshore wind and a low ebbing tide.
The lifeguards drove to the water’s edge and Ben immediately responded on a rescue board and paddled out to the bodyboarder who was found to be completely exhausted having struggled in the sea for approximately 30 minutes. Ben brought him safely back to shore where Charlie had already called for an ambulance. Having assessed his condition, the lifeguards reassured the bodyboarder as they brought him to the nearby Beach Lifeguard Unit where they began to administer casualty care as he was suffering from the effects of exhaustion and was sick from having swallowed a lot of water. The casualty was subsequently transferred into the care of paramedics once the ambulance service arrived.
Speaking following the rescue, Lifeguard Supervisor Drustan Ward said: ‘Our off-duty lifeguards deserve great credit for their vigilance this morning and for reacting so quickly in bringing this man to safety. Time was of the essence as the casualty had been in difficulty in the rip current for approximately half an hour and was in need of help urgently. We would like to wish him a speedy recovery following his ordeal.
‘Rip currents can be difficult to spot, but are sometimes identified by a channel of churning, choppy water on the sea’s surface. Even the most experienced beachgoers and swimmers can be caught out by rips so we would advise if you do get caught in a rip, don’t try to swim against it or you will get exhausted. If you can stand, wade and don’t swim. If you can, swim parallel to the shore until free of the rip and then head for shore. If you can, always raise your hand and shout for help. If you see someone who you think might be in trouble, don’t delay, dial 999 or 112 and ask for the Coastguard.
‘If you are planning an activity at sea, we would advise going to a patrolled lifeguarded beach and staying between the red and yellow flags. Check the weather forecast, tide times and read local hazard signage to understand local risks. Try not to go alone and let someone on the shore know where you are going and when you are due back.’