Number of rescued swimmers doubled last summer
The number of swimmers that last swimming season (May – september) assistance provided by lifeguards of Rescue Brigade Netherlands has increased from 394 in 2019 to 770 in 2020. The number of people who had to be rescued from a life-threatening situation, rose from 68 to 164. The association speaks of a worrying increase in swimmers in need.
The Dutch rescue brigade reports the increase in the number of swimmers rescued (almost doubling) in a press statement. The total number of relief actions rose between 1 mei en 22 September of 5604 to 6018 compared to a year earlier. It is the third consecutive year that the rescue brigades have seen an increase in the number of emergency services.
Met name de warme periode in augustus zorgde voor topdrukte bij de reddingsbrigades langs de kust. Sunday 9 August took the cake: een combinatie van aflandige wind en sterke stroming maakte het lastig voor alle zwemmers aan de Noordzeekust van Nederland. Vier zwemmers kwamen om het leven en de brigades rukten talloze keren uit.
Koen Breedveld, director of Rescue Brigade Netherlands, calls the rising figures worrying: ,,We expected that many Dutch people would come to the coast this summer. That also happened. The persistent heat played a role in this. The assistance was also designed for this. However, this year we see a lot of people coming to the beach, who have little experience with swimming in the sea. And therefore also get into trouble. That is worrisome and demands the utmost from our care providers. "
Digital warning system
Breedveld roept de politiek op om meer te investeren in voorlichting over zwemveiligheid zodat zwemmers beter beslagen naar stranden en recreatiegebieden toekomen. The Domburg rescue brigades themselves pleaded, The hague, Noordwijk, Zandvoort en Egmond afgelopen week in het AD voor een digitaal waarschuwingssysteem langs de Nederlandse kust. Strandgangers moeten via digitale matrixborden actuele info krijgen over het weer, wind and bathing water. They also argue for a special app.
Director Breedveld speaks of good ideas. This month he will meet with all rescue teams to evaluate the season. This should later result in an action plan for the number of swimmers who get into trouble, reduce.
Be at the Rescue Brigade Netherlands 157 rescue brigades connected with in total 23.000 membership, of which such 2750 well-trained volunteers as a lifeguard are active on the beach, in inland waters and in swimming pools.