Experienced swimmer caught by RIP current and trapped in groyne at New Brighton

The swimmer was trapped in the groyne further along to the right of this picture – lifeboat is returning to base after the beach based crew carried out the rescue.

At just after 9:00pm last night the pagers fired following a report that yells for help from a swimmer who was trapped in the groyne by the New Brighton lighthouse had been heard.

It was approximately 3 hours before a 9 metre high tide which was flooding in rapidly at New Brighton and would soon cover the groyne.

During the evening our lifeboat crews were having one of their regular training exercises and had just washed down, refuelled and parked up the lifeboat for the evening. With crews still in the vicinity the lifeboat was rapidly launched from Victoria slipway plus our 4×4 vehicle with two crew headed for the plateau by the Fort Perch Rock.

The swimmer was trapped in the groyne about ½ way down its length. Our 2 shore based crew Steve Hughes and Chris Thompson immediately headed down the top of the groyne, which was still above water, and on reaching the swimmer managed to get her safely out of the trap and onto dry land. Meanwhile the lifeboat had arrived and just waited offshore until she had reached safety before returning to base.

The swimmer was shaken, bruised and had cuts from barnacles and rocks on hands, legs and arms but otherwise OK. She was escorted to our 4×4 where she was made comfortable pending the arrival of ambulance and paramedic for check over.

It appears that she was a very experienced and strong swimmer who regularly swam in the sea at New Brighton. However on this occasion she found herself caught by a RIP current caused by the rapidly flowing incoming tide. Once caught in they can be difficult to escape from and can drag you into deeper water, out to sea or into a hazardous situation like a groyne.

If you get caught in a rip:

  • Don’t try to swim against it or you’ll get exhausted as they can flow at up to 4.5 mph which is faster than an Olympic swimmer.

  • If you can stand, wade don’t swim.

  • If you can, swim parallel to the shore until free of the rip and then head for shore.

  • Always raise your hand and shout for help.

Two years ago we rescued 2 girls caught by a RIP current who were swimming in this area, just managed to hold onto the rocks at the end. They could easily have been swept out to sea and drowned had we not arrived just in time.

Also at the scene were HM Coastguard team, police, fire engine and ambulance with additional sea going support from Merseyside Fire & Rescue’s boat Marine Fire One.

Similar groyne frtom different part of New Brighton beach. You don't want to get trapped in something like this.

Similar groyne from different part of New Brighton beach. You don’t want to get trapped in something like this.