New research* from Ford and the RNLI** shows 40% of people who say they would take an inflatable into the sea in the UK admit to previously getting into difficulty. As a result, Ford ordered custom tires that can leave key water safety messages imprinted on stretches of sand as part of a new initiative with the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI).
Ford says it aims to support the lifesaving charity to educate people on and raise awareness of key beach safety advice. The custom tires have been designed to leave 3 key water safety messages in the sand, including ‘float to live’, ‘no inflatables’, and ‘emergency? call 999’.
Writing messages in the sand is a tradition and prompted Ford to create a way of spreading water safety messages quickly across miles of beaches using its vehicles. The custom tires are made from a mold of each water safety message. The mold creates a rubber tire sleeve that is wrapped around the Ford Ranger tire tread and fixed into place permanently.
“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,” said Guy Addington, Regional Water Safety Lead at the RNLI.
During 2019, RNLI lifeguards aided more than 29,000 people on UK beaches in more than 17,000 incidents, saving a total of 154 lives. They also helped to reunite nearly 1,800 lost children and teenagers with their families and aided 346 people in incidents involving inflatables.
Ford is the official vehicle supplier to the RNLI, and the Ford Ranger is the RNLI’s pick-up of choice for lifeguard beach patrols. Since 2018, Ford has provided the RNLI with more than 350 vehicles, including the Fiesta, EcoSport, Focus, Kuga, Transit, Transit Connect and Transit Customs plus the Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV).
The custom tires were tested by Ford at Minnis Bay in Kent. Ford and the RNLI are now looking at the long-term use of this Ford Ranger, that has been fitted with the custom tires.
*Source: Survey of 3,000 UK Adults conducted by 3GEM Research & Insights in August 2020
** RNLI volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service around the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland coasts. The RNLI operates over 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and more than 240 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK and Channel Islands. The RNLI is independent of Coastguard and government and depends on voluntary donations.
RNLI Safety Advice
- If you’re planning a visit to a beach or the coast remember:
- Have a plan – check the weather forecast, tide times and read local hazard signage
- Keep a close eye on your family – on the beach and in the water
- Don’t allow your family to swim alone
- Don’t use inflatables
- If you fall into the water unexpectedly, FLOAT TO LIVE. Fight your instinct to thrash around, lean back, extend your arms and legs, and Float
- In an emergency dial 999, and ask for the Coastguard