Swimmer in Cornwall had "done all she could" to aid her own rescue

Swimmer in Cornwall had "done all she could" to aid her own rescue

Ella was rescued after being swept out to sea thanks to her choice of swimming accessories, which meant she was easily spotted from the shore.
HM Coastguard

There’s no doubt that the UK has some magnificent coastlines, with beautiful beaches and stunning seas that make the perfect place for a dip, almost any time of year. But even the most experienced swimmers can get into trouble, and that’s exactly what happened to Ella, whose story could have ended differently if it wasn’t for a few vital choices.

Just like any other day, Ella headed to Little Fistral beach for a dip in the ocean. A regular and experienced swimmer, Ella was familiar with the area and had prepared before heading out to the coast. Equipped with a pink tow float and matching swimming cap, she was ready for her refreshing dip. 

Despite the preparation she had undertook, Ella found herself in difficulty and was swept out to sea, unable to make it back to shore. Her decision to take brightly coloured accessories would end up helping to save her life.
Spotting the brightly coloured tow float and swimming cap from the shore, a passer-by noticed that something wasn’t right and called 999 for the Coastguard. 

It was just before 12.45pm that the call came into HM Coastguard, with the caller giving regular updates on where the swimmer was. Newquay and Padstow coastguard rescue teams were sent along with both Newquay RNLI lifeboats and the coastguard helicopter from Newquay.



Matt Rogers, Team Leader with HM Coastguard said: “This swimmer had done a considerable amount to give herself a chance of being rescued if things went wrong. She not only had a float that was a bright pink colour but was wearing a hat of the same colour too. It meant our caller could help give us information that enabled the swimmer to be rescued quickly.


“It’s a reminder of how quickly things can go wrong even for the most experienced and why you should do all you can to help us help you if the worst happens".
Matt Rogers, HM Coastguard Team Leader

Not only do brightly coloured floats and caps make it easier to be spotted by members of the public along the shore, but they can also help our rescue teams locate you should anything go wrong. 

Something so simple can make a real difference in your chances of survival.

Please note names have been changed to protect people's identities.


Make yourself more visible when going for a swim:

  • Choose bright colours – the brighter the better!
  • Pinks and oranges make a great option for swimming caps and tow floats, as they are easily spotted from a distance when in the water.
  • Avoid colours such as blue or black, as these can easily camouflage into your surroundings when out at sea or along the coast, making you harder to see in the event of an emergency.
  • Remember, if you or someone else get into trouble at the coast, call 999 and ask for the Coastguard. 

Want to know more about how to stay prepared? Read more of our sea safety tips.


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