Tide Tracks: Ford Continues to Help The RNLI Spread Water Safety Messages

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Published on
August 22, 2022

As part of a continued effort with the Royal National Lifeboat Institution, Ford has commissioned special tyres that may leave critical water safety warnings imprinted on stretches of sand (RNLI).

This activity aims to assist the lifesaving organisation in educating and raising awareness of important beach safety recommendations. The bespoke tyres were created to leave three crucial water safety messages in the sand, including 'float to live,' 'no inflatables,' and 'emergency? call 999.'

This comes at a time when recent Ford research* indicates that 40% of UK residents who would use an inflatable in the water have already run into problems. 38 percent of respondents said they would think about swimming alone. And 82% of Brits say they've visited a beach in the past two years, demonstrating how much they appreciate it. Coastline destinations less than two hours away are a sweet spot, with 63% prepared to drive for this period of time to visit the UK seaside. Despite their love of the sea, just 56% of the UK public knows to phone 999 and request the coastguard if they observe someone fall into open water.

Messages in the sand are a long-standing tradition that inspired Ford to develop a method of quickly spreading water safety messages across miles of beaches using its vehicles. Each water safety message is moulded into the custom tyres. The mould produces a rubber tyre sleeve that is permanently wrapped around the Ford Ranger tyre tread.

The RNLI is urging the general public, and parents in particular, to take responsibility for themselves and their families if they choose to visit a beach this summer as people take vacations at home and enjoy the beaches along the UK coastline.

The RNLI's regional water safety lead, Guy Addington, stated: “Spending the day at the beach or out on the water is a great way to have fun and stay active but it’s easier than you think to get into trouble. With record temperatures, we’ve seen high numbers of people at UK beaches this summer so it’s imperative that we continue to raise awareness of important water safety messages. We’re delighted that Ford is helping us continue our mission to spread these messages that can help save lives. It is vital that anyone visiting the coast understands that the beach can be a dangerous environment and you must take responsibility for you and your family this summer. No one ever goes to the coast to be rescued yet RNLI lifeguards rescue 1000’s each year.”

A total of 154 lives were saved by RNLI lifeguards in 2019 as they assisted more than 29,000 beachgoers in more than 17,000 incidents on UK shores. They also assisted 346 people in incidents involving inflatables and nearly 1,800 lost children and teenagers with their families.

Andy Barratt, Managing Director at Ford of Britain said:“We’ve been delighted to continue supplying vehicles to the RNLI, and support the outstanding work they do to keep us all safe. It’s very exciting to see our Ford Ranger being used to spread these important water safety messages”.

Ford is the RNLI's official vehicle supplier, and the Ford Ranger is the RNLI's pick-up of choice for lifeguard beach patrols, supporting their excellent work on UK beaches. Since 2018, Ford has donated over 350 vehicles to the RNLI, including the Fiesta, EcoSport, Focus, Kuga, Transit, Transit Connect, and Transit Customs, as well as the Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV).

Ford tested the custom tyres at Minnis Bay in Kent. Ford and the RNLI are now discussing the long-term use of this Ford Ranger outfitted with custom tyres.

Learn more about the new initiative and UK water safety guidance here.

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