RNLI seeks rip current survivors to help with research

Hartland Quay
Image caption Rip currents can quickly drag people out to sea, the RNLI said

The RNLI has appealed for people rescued from rip currents to help with "potentially lifesaving" research.

The lifeboat charity is working alongside the University of Plymouth to establish how people behave when caught in a rip current.

The RNLI said the strong currents can quickly drag people out to sea, beyond their depth.

The research is designed to help the RNLI teach people the best ways to avoid getting caught in one.

Last year, rip currents were the cause of 38% of sea-based incidents the charity's lifeguards responded to.

Swimming ability

Adam Wooler, RNLI head of coastal safety and research, said: "Rip currents are consistently one of the biggest causes of incidents that the RNLI's lifeguards deal with each year.

"But very little is currently known about how people react when they become caught in one, which means it's difficult to know how to educate people to avoid getting caught in one in the first place."

The research will take the form of an online survey.

It will ask about swimming ability, where the rip experience took place, and how the respondent reacted and escaped.

The RNLI has also been working with the University of Plymouth to research the physical characteristics of rip currents and to help develop models to predict when and where rip currents are likely to occur.

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