Nine Pembrokeshire beaches welcome back RNLI lifeguards this weekend
RNLI lifeguards will return to nine of Pembrokeshire’s beaches from this weekend.
The charity’s lifeguards, which are provided in partnership with Pembrokeshire County Council, will return to duty on Saundersfoot, Tenby Castle, Tenby North, Freshwater West, Nolton Haven, Broad Haven, Newgale, Newport Sands and Poppit Sands beaches from Saturday (18 June), providing safety advice and assistance to people visiting the coast.
They will be on the beaches between 10am and 6pm every day throughout the summer until the season ends on 4 September.
Lifeguards will also continue their service on Whitesands beach in St Davids and Tenby South beach, where they have been on duty since 25 March.
Lifeguards will also be returning to three more beaches in Ceredigion - Aberystwyth, Tresaith and Aberporth - from Saturday (18 June).
Last year RNLI lifeguards assisted over 900 people on 32 of Wales’ busiest beaches. This year the charity has increased the safety patrols to 39 beaches across the Welsh coast.
Chris Rigby, RNLI Lifeguard Supervisor, said: ‘All our lifeguards are very much looking forward to manning nine more of Pembrokeshire’s beaches from this weekend.
‘We encourage those thinking of a trip to the coast over the summer months to always visit a lifeguarded beach and if you’re heading into the sea please respect the water and swim between the red and yellow flags, which have been designated as the safest swimming areas by lifeguards.
‘Last year in Pembrokeshire we saw a number of rescues where people got into difficulty in rip currents. Rips are strong currents of water running out to sea that can quickly drag you out beyond your depth. If you get caught in a rip, don’t panic, don’t try to swim against it or you’ll get exhausted. If you can stand, wade, don’t swim. If you can, swim parallel to the shore until free of the rip and then head for shore, raise your hand and shout for help.
‘The lifeguards are fully trained in all aspects of beach safety, so if you have any questions please approach a lifeguard who will be more than happy to help or offer expert advice.’
Pembrokeshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Culture, Sport and Leisure, Councillor Elwyn Morse, said: ‘It is great to see the RNLI lifeguards back on our beaches for the summer season thanks to the partnership between the RNLI and the County Council.
‘The collaboration between the two helps to keep the beaches safer for everyone.’
Last week the RNLI released coastal fatality figures (1) to coincide with the launch its national drowning prevention campaign, Respect the Water, which aims to halve accidental coastal deaths by 2024.
They showed 20 people lost their lives around Wales’s coast last year - the highest number since 2011 - and the number of near-fatal incidents was even higher, with the RNLI’s lifeboat crews and lifeguards in Wales saving 78 lives in 2015 (2).
The campaign is targeted at adult men, who account for by far the most incidents, and a surprising trend is that nearly half (45%) of the coastal deaths each year are people who never planned to enter the water.
As part of the campaign the RNLI is renewing its warning to people about the dangers of cold water, slips and falls, rip currents and waves and urging people to visit RNLI.org/RespectTheWater where they will find information on how to stay safe.
(1) Records from the National Water Safety Forum’s Water Incident Database (WAID) 2011–2015. RNLI has analysed the data using GIS software to plot and analyse incidents before inclusion in a specific coastal dataset (accident and natural causes only).
(2) RNLI lifeboat incident data 2015 (exc call-outs to self-harm incidents) and RNLI lifeguard incident data 2015.
Notes to editors:
The attached picture shows an RNLI lifeguard in action (credit RNLI)
For more information please contact Chris Cousens, RNLI Press Officer, Wales and West, on 07748 265496 or 01745 585162 or by email on Chris_Cousens@rnli.org.uk.
Key facts about the RNLI
The RNLI charity saves lives at sea. Its 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, in a normal year, 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 and legacies to maintain its rescue service. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824, its lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved over 142,700 lives.