Survivor stories

Meet the survivors who say the 'float to live' technique helped to save their life

Ruth got separated from her surfboard

‘I remembered what the lifeguard said. I realised it was about relaxing to save my life.’

Despite not feeling confident in the water, Ruth always felt safe at sea with her surfboard. One day, Ruth felt confident enough to go out alone for a surf when, suddenly, her leash snapped.

‘I saw my board bobbing off towards shore – it was my worst nightmare. I shouted for help, but nobody heard me. Wave after wave came and I got tumbled up like I was in a washing machine. I thought: “That’s it, that’s me gone.” I had spoken to an RNLI lifeguard 3 days earlier, and suddenly remembered they told me to float – so I did. You can save your life by staying relaxed. If you fight the water you’ll quickly get exhausted. If one person finds themselves in a difficult situation and remembers to float, it will be worthwhile.’

Nathan was out of his depth and started to panic

‘I remembered the radio commercial that told me float’

‘I’d been to Dorset a few years ago and vowed to come back on my birthday. I came up with my best friend – conditions were perfect and you couldn’t get me out the water! I’d never tried to swim through the stone arch that reaches into the sea from the shore, and I thought: “Yeah, I could swim there and back.”

‘It looked easy, but the current had a bit of a suction through the arch and I was now out of my depth. I realised I couldn't get back. I was swimming, kicking and nothing was happening. I panicked for a few seconds and that’s when I remembered the radio commercial that told me to float instead of fighting the water. I just lay back and started floating and kicking my legs. Eventually, after about 20 minutes, I managed to get back to the safety of the beach. It saved my life.’

Evan got caught in a rip current

‘Seeing the advert was the reason I knew what to do and how to stay alive in that situation’

‘I REALISED EVAN WASN'T GOING TO COME OUT OF THE WAVES - SO I IMMEDIATELY CALLED 999’

Evan’s dad was on the beach watching Evan and his friends having fun jumping over waves. A strong rip current (sometimes referred to as a ‘rip tide’) pulled Evan out to sea. Realising he couldn’t get out, Evan’s dad made an emergency call and asked the Coastguard for assistance. Thankfully, Evan had seen the Float to Live video and knew what he had to do: stay calm and stay afloat.

Enda capsized into icy water

‘I just had a moment of calm and remembered the Float to Live video… I knew then I was okay’

‘I was in a kayak when the wake of a passing boat made me suddenly capsize into the choppy water. Fortunately I was wearing a buoyancy aid, but I was immediately struck with panic. The more I flailed around, the further away from the kayak I was getting. It was quite frightening and astonishing how, in a matter of seconds, I was 20 yards or more from the kayak and totally helpless.

‘Then I just had a moment of calm, and the only image I could see was the one in the Float to Live video and I just stopped moving everything. I started bobbing up and down in the waves – and I knew then I was okay. Within 2 minutes or so, the rescue boat was beside me.’

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IF YOU SEE SOMEONE IN TROUBLE AT THE COAST, CALL 999 OR 112 AND ASK FOR THE COASTGUARD