The RNLI is the charity that saves lives at sea. Our recycling partnership with the charity began in 2009 and since then, we have raised over £750,000 by recycling inkjet & toner cartridges.
The charity began in 1824 and the philosophy today remains the same as it was then; to provide a lifesaving service using volunteers wherever possible, with voluntary donations supplying the funds needed to do so. The RNLI provide on call, a 24-hour lifeboat search and rescue service and a seasonal lifeguard service.
Two out of three people in the UK will head to the seaside at least once this year. While most beachgoers will have an enjoyable and relaxing time, many get into serious difficulties and then something goes wrong, it will be the RNLI to the rescue.
Did you know that in 2016 RNLI lifeboats were launched 8,851 times and that 23 people are rescued every day.
RNLI lifeguards are qualified in lifesaving and casualty care. Highly trained, strong and fit, they must be able to swim 200m in under 3½ minutes, and run 200m on sand in under 40 seconds. However, a good lifeguard rarely gets wet as 95% of a lifeguard’s work is preventative.
It was a mild day in mid-June 2013 and holidaymaker Iona Steen was surfing happily at St Agnes in Cornwall. After a break, Iona went back into the cold water – only this time without her wetsuit.
‘With hindsight I was very tired,’ Iona recalls. ‘I just kept being pushed under the water and I got very distressed.’
Meanwhile off-duty Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service Firefighter and long-time member of St Agnes Surf Lifesaving Club, Howard Davey, was bodyboarding when he heard Iona shouting for help.
At this point she was about 60m from the shore and struggling in the surf. The cold water drained her of energy. Howard swam to her and remembered his lifeguard training. ‘She was really flailing about. It was like taking a Beach Lifeguard Award exam! She jumped on top of me and I had to reassure her and encourage her to kick her legs. I protected her as several waves broke over the top of us and then RNLI Lifeguard Dan Stirling joined us on a rescue board. It was then Iona became very limp and Dan carried her out from the water. For me it was a classic case of being in the right place at the right time.’
Iona continues ‘I had the sensation that he was saving my life. He took over when he reached me. I was pretty dazed but he was really great and I felt very safe.’
Iona was very relieved to see Howard and praised the efforts of all involved in her rescue: ‘Everyone was brilliant and I was very impressed with the whole team from Howard to Dan and all the others who helped me, including the paramedics and hospital staff.’
Iona was suffering the effects of cold water shock and was at risk of secondary drowning triggered from inhaling water. She was assisted by the RNLI Lifeguard Team at St Agnes before being taken to hospital by ambulance for a check-up and was thankfully later released.
With the continued support of companies like ourselves, plus donations from the general public, RNLI lifeboat crews and lifeguards saved 558 lives in 2016.