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RNLI Lifeguard Elise Irish smiling, with blue skies and the sea in the background.

RNLI Lifeguard
Elise Irish

Elise Irish is from Plymouth and recently moved to Cornwall after finishing her Biomedical Sciences Degree at Bath University. She wants to be a paramedic and is building experience by becoming an RNLI lifeguard at Fistral Beach in Newquay. So, what does she make of it so far?

What made you want to become an RNLI lifeguard?

Lifeguarding ties together two aspects of my life really well. I love being in and around the ocean – coming from a coastal town, I think it's important to help teach people how to stay safe. I'd eventually like to be a paramedic, so I see lifeguarding as a great, progressive step towards that – especially in learning how to manage high-stress situations. I want to work in a role where I can help people.

How are you finding the induction so far? What are the highlights?

I'm really enjoying it. I'm getting to meet other new lifeguards and build team bonds. This means when you start the job, you're already comfortable with each other.

So far, we've been working on casualty care, which involves 3 days of theory and practice. This training is critical for the role. We get to practise what we've learned so that we're ready to face any situation.

What skills do you need to become a lifeguard?

The most important thing is just to have a willingness to learn. You don't need to be the best swimmer or surfer if you're keen to learn and progress. The training will get you competent in first aid and rescue techniques.

What are you excited about for the season ahead?

I'm most excited about working with more experienced lifeguards and learning how to deal with casualties during both minor and major incidents. This will be great prep for my paramedic work later. Also, I can't wait to be on the beach all the time, improving my water and board skills.

What advice would you give to someone who's interested but a little unsure?

Remember there are resources to support you and help develop your confidence. The RNLI offer world-class training. With the induction, alongside meeting the other lifeguards, I have all the prep I need. Don't be afraid to ask questions about the job and to ask for help with any skills you'd like to brush up on.

Thinking about becoming a lifeguard? 

Find out more about what’s involved and how to qualify.

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A head and shoulders shot of RNLI Lifeguard Harry Barea. Harry is smiling and wearing a blue RNLI woolly hat, a yellow RNLI polo short, and sunscreen across his nose and cheeks. The beach in the background is deliberately blurred.
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