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Newquay surfer says RNLI advice saved her life

Newquay surfer says RNLI advice saved her life

Published by Sarah Yeoman at 2:27pm 30th May 2019.

A surfer from Newquay has told Pirate FM how advice from the RNLI helped save her life - when she wiped out.

Ruth Osborne went out at Perranporth around two years ago when she came off her board and her leash snapped.

She was left out of her depth, without her surfboard and being pounded by big waves.

She says she was hit by a sudden moment of panic.

But around three days beforehand, Ruth had by chance been chatting to a lifeguard about what she should do if she ever got into trouble in the water...

"You just never think that's going to happen, but it did, and I was getting pounded by wave after wave, getting held under the water for longer than I'd ever been held under before, and really struggling to get my breath before the next wave hit me.

"It was a very, very frightening experience, my inner voice was telling me you can't survive this, you're out of your depth.

"I turned around what I was saying to myself in my mind and I said no, you can do this, you've got to relax, it's a matter of life and death.

"My initial instinct was to panic, I just remembered that I had to float to live, and be confident enough that there was enough air in my lungs to help me float.

"The advice to relax and float bought me time, the set of waves passed and then there was a lull, and I managed to scramble my way back into shallower waters and back onto the beach."

Ruth Osborne, surfer from Newquay

Luckily Ruth knew about the RNLI 'float to live' campaign - and says the advice helped save hr life that day.

It comes as figures show 25 people died around the South West coast last year alone.

80% of those who lost their lives were men and two thirds ended up in the water unexpectedly.

The statistics from the RNLI also reveal that the Duchy's beach lifeguards rescued almost 14,000 people in 2018.

It comes as the charity launches its summer safety campaign, 'Respect the Water'.

What is the advice to save a life?

  1. Fight your instinct to swim hard or thrash about - this can lead to breathing in water and drowning
  2. Instead, relax and FLOAT on your back, until you have regained control of your breathing

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