Two Alderney boys used their school-taught life saving skills to rescue a six-year-old who was being dragged out to sea.
Tobin Collier, 14, and Isaac Maurice, 13, were on Braye Beach on Sunday August 2nd when they spotted something was wrong.
The six year old boy was holidaying in Alderney with his family and playing on a paddle board at high tide on Baye Beach.The tide turned and started to pull him out to sea by the Douglas Quay.
His dad quickly swam out to try and help, however was not able to swim against the strong tide.
Luckily, Tobin and Isaac were on hand and had been given Royal Life Saving Society training lessons by their teacher, Angela Etheredge.
When they saw what was happening they were quick to assess the situation.
They decided they could swim the few hundred metres across the bay to catch up with the boy, knowing they had other friends nearby on the beach, and so they jumped into the water. They managed to reach the paddle board and stopped it from moving any further out to sea. They calmed the boy down, and and waited for his parents to reach them.
Eventually, Alderney’s water taxi arrived – having been called by someone else on the beach – and brought the boy ashore, while everyone else carefully swam back with the paddleboard.
“We are lucky here on the island having RLSS Lifesaving lessons provided by the school which gave me the confidence and knowledge to assess the situation and take action.”
“I was really pleased that my lifesaving lessons were put to good use. I was able to recognise the danger and quickly assess the situation. I knew that I could swim the distance in the water conditions and therefore did not hesitate to help. I would tell everybody to learn Survive and Save skills, especially in the sea, as you really never know when it will be needed.”
Mrs Etheredge said:
“There is a buzz of excitement about this story on the island. It is perhaps an important opportunity to stress to all that the water can be dangerous and that close supervision is required for kayaks, inflatables and paddleboards. The boys who swam out to rescue this boy have both had lifesaving lessons at St Anne’s School and were able to assess the situation, consider their options, and change their plan according to the situation, as they have learned. This led to a positive outcome for all.”
After the event, Isaac and Tobin were both thanked on Quay FM by the parents, as they sent in a message to show how grateful they were for the help.
St Anne’s is also sending a letter of appreciation to them both, in recognition of their actions.
Martin Winward, Headteacher at St Anne’s, said it proved how indispensable swimming and life-saving lessons were on Alderney.
“This incident proves that it is vital that we continue to invest curriculum time and resources into staff training and then the delivery of RLSS awards.
The recent event is testament to Education’s commitment to ensuring the young people of Alderney are taught how to swim and be safe around water – but this is not enough.
“The Revive & Thrive programme must include delivering on swimming not just for young people but for the community of Alderney as a whole.
“It is now time for politicians and Education to stand together and deliver the entitlement that islanders need not least to have parity as taxpayers.”