‘The river looks inviting, but there are dangers’ - Gravesend RNLI urges public to respect the water

PUBLISHED: 09:46 25 May 2017 | UPDATED: 09:46 25 May 2017

Gravesend RNLI Station is based next to the PLA building on Gravesend's riverfront.

Gravesend RNLI Station is based next to the PLA building on Gravesend's riverfront.


The lifeboat charity has been stationed in Gravesend since 2002

Residents soaking up the sun along the riverfront and seaside are being urged to respect the water.

With the sun already shining and the Bank Holiday weekend approaching, the lifeboat charity, which has been stationed on Gravesend’s riverside since 2002, is giving potentially life-saving advice for anyone going near the water this summer.

“The river looks very inviting when the weather’s nice, but there are many dangers including tides, submerged objects and the shock of cold water,” explained Gravesend crew member, Alan Carr.

“Last year 162 lost their lives along the coast, just under half never meant to enter the water, so those are people who were maybe running or cycling, and fell into the water.

“At the moment the average water temperature is around 12 degrees, anything below 15 sends your body into cold water shock.

“The instinct is to try and swim and gasp for air, but you end swallowing water, that’s why we’re telling people to float, and let their body adjust to the cold temperatures.”

As part of its respect the water campaign, the charity has set up an acronym to spell out what to do if someone ends up in the water:

F - Fight your instinct to panic or swim hard

L - Lean back in the water to keep your airway clear

O - Open your body up, extend your arms and legs, pushing your stomach up

A - Actions. Gently move your hands and feet to help you float

T - Time. In 60-90 seconds, you’ll be able to control your breathing.

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