RNLI lifeguards soon to patrol local beaches

PUBLISHED: 11:53 27 June 2020 | UPDATED: 11:53 27 June 2020

Last year's team of RNLI lifeguards.  Picrture RNLI

Last year's team of RNLI lifeguards. Picrture RNLI


RNLI lifeguards patrols will resume on beaches at Seaton and Lyme Regis from Saturday, July 4.

The volunteers will be on duty from 10am to 6pm throughout the summer holiday season, until September 6.

The announcement comes as warmer weather and large swell is forecast for the coming week, and the charity is urging surfers and beach goers to heed safety advice.

Guy Botterill RNLI area lifesaving manager in the south west said: “’The charity have been providing a lifeguard service on a limited number of beaches since the beginning of June which has enabled us to thoroughly test the new ways of working, PPE, staffing and new equipment as a result of coronavirus.

“Despite the continuing challenges created by the pandemic, we are now confident we can provide a safe, comprehensive lifeguard service this summer.

“It has taken a lot of hard work by the whole team, especially our RNLI lifeguard supervisors and technicians, but we are really pleased to be able to provide safety cover on over 70 per cent of the beaches we’d usually cover by the beginning of July.”

Lifeguards will wear PPE similar to ambulance crews in some situations.

New protocols for all first responders mean the lifeguards may not deal with some minor first aid cases but will support people to treat themselves.

They will also try to keep socially distant from beach goers, and may need to adopt different patrol methods at times, such as not using the red and yellow flags and asking people to keep apart but close to shore, to help keep people safe while maintaining social distancing.

Mr Botterill added: “With the large surf conditions forecast coupled with spring tides, rip currents will be stronger than normal.

“We are urging surfers and bathers to not enter the water alone, always go to a lifeguarded beach and ask the lifeguards and local surfers for advice.

“Know your limits and know what to do if you are caught in a rip current or get into difficulty. Keep hold of your board or flotation device and paddle parallel to the shore.”

Anyone planning a visit to the coast should remember and follow RNLI safety advice:

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.

Do not allow your family to swim or surf alone.

Do not 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.

The Mayor of Lyme Regis, Brian Larcombe, said: “Naturally the RNLI had to review its beach service because of the lockdown restrictions and operational challenges COVID-19 placed on its resources and ways of working, and it was absolutely right that first priority was given to the most dangerous surf beaches in Devon and Cornwall.

“Lyme has a lifeboat station within yards of its main front beach and by comparison doesn’t have the kind of bathing sea conditions that would place it in Devon and Cornwall’s first priority grouping.

“However, now that the Government announcements have eased COVID-19 measures and we are likely to see something approaching the start of a summer season, albeit a ‘new norm’ with the required social distancing and other restrictions remaining in place, it will result in raised numbers of visitors and holidaymakers than of late and they will want to enter the sea.

“Who wouldn’t, given the fantastic weather we’ve had in recent months?

“So, we welcome the lifeguard beach service back to Lyme for the main summer season we’re about to have.”

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