RNLI lifeguards to resume full time Summer patrol
RNLI lifeguards will commence full-time Summer patrol on 10 beaches in Northern Ireland next weekend.
The beaches include Benone, Downhill, Castlerock, Portstewart Strand, Portrush West, Portrush East, Whiterocks, Tyrella, Murlough and Cranfield.
From next Saturday 25 June, the RNLI will take up full time daily duty on all beaches continuing to Sunday 4 September when weekend duty will then resume on selected beaches throughout September.
Lifeguards will be on the beach daily between 11am and 7pm on the Causeway Coast and between 10am and 6pm in County Down.
Speaking ahead of the new season, RNLI Lifeguard Manager Mike Grocott is encouraging those planning a visit to the beach this summer to bear in mind some key safety messages: ‘The RNLI’s advice for anyone planning a trip to the beach is to check weather and tide times before you go and if planning to go into the water, swim at a lifeguarded beach, between the red and yellow flags. Avoid using inflatables in strong winds or rough seas. If you get into trouble, stick your hand in the air and shout for help and if you see someone else in trouble, tell a lifeguard. If you can’t see a lifeguard, call 909 or 112 and ask for the Coastguard.
The RNLI will be running its annual national drowning prevention campaign Respect the Water throughout the summer months with the charity this year warning the public to watch out for key dangers that can catch people out in or near water.
The RNLI is warning of the key dangers that can lead to accidental drowning - cold water, unexpected entry into the water, and rip currents and waves.
The campaign will reinforce the key message ‘Treat water with respect, not everyone can be saved’ on a range of channels throughout the Summer. While the campaign is primarily aimed at males aged between 16 and 39 the same advice is relevant for anyone visiting the coast.
Michael Thompson, RNLI Lifeguard Supervisor explained: ‘We want everyone to enjoy our beaches and the water. However, water is powerful and unpredictable and people need to treat it with respect. Each year RNLI lifeboat crews and lifeguards rescue hundreds of people around the coast of Northern Ireland but sadly, not everyone can be saved. The real tragedy is that many of these deaths could have been prevented.’
‘Cold water is a real killer, People often don’t realise how cold our waters can be – even in summer months the temperature rarely exceeds 12 degrees, which is cold enough to trigger cold water shock.
‘The fact that over half of the people who die around our coast each year never planned to enter the water serves as a warning to us all to stay away from cliff edges, particularly where there is slippery, unstable, unstable or uneven ground; stick to marked paths and keep an eye on the water – watch out for unexpected waves which can catch you out and sweep you into the water.
‘If you’re planning to enter the water be aware that, even if it looks calm on the surface, there can be strong rip currents beneath the surface, which can quickly drag you out to sea. The sea is powerful and can catch out even the strongest and most experienced swimmers.’
Notes to editor
The charity is asking people to visit RNLI.org/RespectTheWater where they will find information on coastal hazards, how to keep themselves safe, and what to do should they someone else end up in trouble in the water. On social media search #RepectTheWater.
RNLI media contacts
For more information please contact Nuala McAloon, RNLI Press Officer on 0876483547, email Nuala_McAloon@rnli.org.uk or Niamh Stephenson RNLI Public Relations Manager Ireland on 00 353 87 1254 124 or Niamh_Stephenson@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 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.