RNLI on standby as Boat Race expects quarter of a million spectators by the Thames

Image above: RNLI lifeboat from Chiswick lifeboat station in action on the River Thames

Organisers of the Boat Race are expecting 250,000 spectators to be watching from the shore on Boat Race day, Sunday 3 April. Boat race partners the RNLI says:

“It’s rare to have a crowd that big gathered on a river bank, and especially one as tidal as the Thames – so we’re asking those enjoying the day to take care and respect the water while having a fun day out.”

The RNLI station at Chiswick Pier is celebrating 20 years of saving lives on the River Thames this year and regularly have to rescue Boat Race spectators who have climbed down to the shore to watch the race and get stuck, unaware how quickly the tide comes in.

Safety advice

“Our advice to those coming to enjoy the day is to be aware of your surroundings, as slips trips and falls can happen easily. If you do fall into the water unexpectedly, remember to float to live.

“Keep calm and try not to panic, lean back extending your arms and legs to keep your airway clear of the water and if you need to, gently move your arms and legs in a gentle motion to help you float. Once you have your breathing under control then consider swimming to a point of safety.

“If you do see anyone in trouble, dial 999 or 112 and ask for the Coastguard and if you can, try and give a location as this will help rescue services get to those in difficulty quicker.”

The RNLI is a charity and relies on donations from the public and volunteers to crew the lifeboats. you can donate to save lives in London here: RNLI.org/BoatRace2022

Image above: Mark Pusey, one of the RNLI volunteers at Chiswick lifeboat station who will be on duty this weekend

Swapping drums for a dry suit

One of the lifeboatmen on duty this weekend on the Chiswick lifeboat will be Mark Pusey, celebrity drummer. Mark has performed with Ed Sheeran, Elton John, Leona Lewis and Tom Jones. Mark said:

“I’m unbelievably fortunate to have such an incredible job as a drummer, and I’ve toured alongside some very talented artists…

“I have to pinch myself sometimes considering what I do for a job – it’s great performing and seeing people enjoying the music – it just gives you an amazing buzz as you fully embrace the atmosphere whether it be on stage or recording in the studio as you enjoy the moment.

“In contrast, in my time away from the drum kit I’m lucky enough to make a real difference in London as I volunteer for the RNLI helping save lives along the River Thames.

“It’s a far cry from standing side by side with a pop star, however, when you put your hand out to pull someone from the water in their moment of need, it gives you a different kind of buzz, a sense of satisfaction – a feeling you’ve made a difference and saved someone’s life.”

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