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'Don’t hesitate to call Coastguard', say RNLI after onlooker brands rescue a waste of resources

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THE RNLI have urged Islanders not to hesitate in calling the Coastguard if they believe someone may be in trouble at sea – after a recent rescue was called a ‘waste of resources’.

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According to a Facebook post written by Enjoy2Swim swimming school last Saturday, two teenage girls were spotted on the Three Sisters rocks at Havre des Pas – opposite the Marina Metro Hotel – as the tide was rising.

As they climbed down from the rocks, they realised that they had been cut off and were stranded.

One was wearing a swimming costume and the other was fully clothed and neither made an attempt to swim back to shore.

After becoming concerned, a member of the public called the Coastguard about the incident and the Fire and Rescue Service’s inshore lifeboat was launched. However, another member of the public, who could see what was happening, then approached the caller and told them that the launch was a waste of resources and that the two teenagers could have swum back to shore.

The swim school’s post said: ‘However, without knowing their swimming ability or the depth of water, and as one was fully clothed, it was not safe and as they had not made an attempt to swim back it was clear they were not happy to do so.

‘It is never a waste of resources to call Jersey Coastguard if you are concerned about someone’s safety, so do not be put off by these kind of comments. Jersey Coastguard would much rather you called so they can assess the situation rather than risk a life.

‘The Jersey Fire and Rescue response car was the first on scene, followed by the Coastguard. The inshore rescue boat headed to the rocks and with the two teens safely on board landed by Green Street slipway. Both teens were fine. However, had the Coastguard not been called this could have been a very different story.’

A spokesman for the RNLI has since reiterated the swim school’s message, adding that it was often impossible to tell a potential casualty’s confidence in the water.

‘For the record, none of the search-and-rescue agencies, nor Jersey Coastguard, would ever consider any call about persons who are potentially in difficulties a “waste of resources”,’ he said.

‘We all know how treacherous our currents and coastline can be, and that is before you consider different swimming abilities and water confidence. So if in doubt, dial 999 and ask for the Coastguard. All of the paid and volunteer search-and-rescue crew are ready and willing to deploy.’

Ed Taylor

By Ed Taylor
Journalist

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