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RNLI confident it can "provide comprehensive lifeguard service" this summer

RNLI confident it can "provide comprehensive lifeguard service" this summer

Published by Sarah Yeoman at 8:01am 20th June 2020.

The RNLI says it is confident it can "provide a more comprehensive lifeguard service" this summer, as more patrols are rolled out across Cornwall.

Since lockdown restrictions were eased last month, the charity has worked hard to roll out lifeguard patrols on 22 beaches in the South West.

Now these beaches are operational and new ways of working and equipment have been properly put to the test, the RNLI is accelerating its service roll-out and increasing the number of beaches which will have a lifeguard service.

The charity is hoping to have lifeguards on around 170 beaches in the UK by early July - 70 per cent of the beaches it would patrol in a normal summer.

"We are now confident we can provide a more comprehensive lifeguard service this summer safely, despite the continuing challenges created by the pandemic. The first few weeks having lifeguards back on beaches has helped us properly test the new ways of operating and reassured everyone that we can accelerate and expand our plans.

"Our original plan to lifeguard 70 beaches this summer was a conservative one, made when many things were still unknown. Now, though, we have a better idea of the journey out of lockdown for all parts of the UK, understand the new regulations with which we must comply as an employer and service provider and, most importantly, feel we can properly manage the risks associated with Coronavirus. So, we are revising our plans and adding to the number of beaches we can lifeguard this summer."

RNLI Chief Executive, Mark Dowie

RNLI Lifeguard on Perranporth beach

Where in Cornwall has lifeguard cover?

In Cornwall, there are currently lifeguards on Constantine, Fistral, Gwithian, Hayle Towans, Mawgan Porth, Perranporth, Poldhu, Porthmeor, Porthtowan, Polzeath, Praa Sands, Sennen, Summerleaze, Watergate Bay, and Widemouth. 

As of this Saturday, 20th June, lifeguard patrols will start at the following nine beaches in Cornwall too:

Tregonhawke, Sharrow, Portreath, Chapel Porth, Holywell Bay, Treyarnon, Harlyn, Trebarwith, and Crooklets. 

The RNLI is continuing to talk to its 55 partner local authorities and beach owners about which additional beaches might be lifeguarded this summer, seeking to align with the proposed early July lifting of restrictions on the tourism and hospitality industries.

The RNLI will announce this information as soon as possible.

lifeguards season ends

Will lifeguards use PPE?

New measures to deal with the coronavirus pandemic mean the RNLI lifeguard service will look a little different this year.

Lifeguards will wear PPE like 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.

The charity is also continuing to urge anyone planning to visit the coast to make sure they keep themselves and their families safe by following beach safety advice.

RNLI lifeguard -credit Nigel Millard-RNLI

Anyone planning a visit to the coast should remember to:

  • 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

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