Ford has commissioned 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) in the UK. The custom tires have been designed to leave three key water safety messages in the sand: ‘Float to live’, ‘No inflatables’, and ‘Emergency? call 999’.
Ford is the official vehicle supplier to the RNLI, and the Ford Ranger is the RNLI’s pickup of choice for lifeguard beach patrols, supporting their great work on beaches up and down the UK. Since 2018, Ford has provided the RNLI with over 350 vehicles, including the Fiesta, EcoSport, Focus, Kuga, Transit, Transit Connect and Transit Customs.
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. The custom tires were tested by Ford at Minnis Bay in Kent.
The activity aims to support the life-saving charity to educate people about and raise awareness of key beach safety advice. This comes as new research from Ford revealed that 40% of people who would take an inflatable into the sea in the UK have previously got into difficulty. Over a third of people (38%) also said they’d consider taking a swim alone and more than four fifths (82%) said they visited the seaside in the last two years.
Seaside destinations within two hours travel are a sweet spot for UK day trippers, with 63% of people willing to drive for this amount of time to visit the coast. Despite a love for the seaside, only 56% of the UK public knows to call 999 and ask for the coastguard if they see somebody fall into open water.
Guy Addington, regional water safety lead at the RNLI, said, “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 1000s each year.”
In 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.
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.