Beach visitors urged to be safe as RNLI lifeguard season ends in Wales
RNLI lifeguards will finish their daily safety service on the beaches of Wales this weekend.
Lifeguards will lower the flags and pack their equipment away for the final time at 6pm on Sunday (4 September) at 37 beaches in Denbighshire, Ceredigion, Pembrokeshire, Carmarthenshire, Swansea, Neath Port Talbot, Porthcawl and the Vale of Glamorgan.
Two beaches – Trecco Bay in Porthcawl and Whitesands Beach in Pembrokeshire – will have a lifeguard service continue until Sunday 25 September.
The RNLI has run a lifeguard service on more Welsh beaches than ever before in 2016, with the service extending to four beaches in Porthcawl, Rhyl and Prestatyn beaches in Denbighshire and Three Cliffs Bay on Gower.
There have been good numbers of visitors to beaches across the country during the summer, meaning a busy few months for the RNLI lifeguard team. As well as a number of water rescues the lifeguards also dealt with a high number of first aid incidents.
Incidents responded to by RNLI lifeguards in Wales this season included the rescue of a woman and two children who were swept out in a rip current in big surf at Llangrannog in Ceredigion, five young children who were rescued from the water after getting into difficulty at Prestatyn in Denbighshire and three children and a woman pulled from the water at Nolton in Pembrokeshire.
Now members of the public are being encouraged to take extra care and consider their safety on the beaches after Sunday’s season end.
Jacob Davies, RNLI Lifeguard Manager for south Wales, said: ‘I would like to thank all the lifeguards who once again provided a first class safety service on the beaches this summer. They have shown commitment and dedication to both their ongoing training and their work on the beaches.
‘The majority of our lifeguards’ work is preventative so as well as the rescues and incidents they were involved in, they will have stopped many more potentially dangerous incidents before they occurred.
‘After Sunday there will be no red and yellow flags flying at the beaches, which means there’s no lifeguard service operating.
‘People visiting the beaches after this can help keep themselves safe by taking note of the safety signage at the entrance to the beach, going with a friend or telling someone on the shore where they are going, and always being aware of the conditions and their own capabilities in the water.’
Phil Davies, RNLI Lifeguard Manager for west Wales, added: ‘Autumn sees big spring tides and bigger swell around the coast. People walking on the coast should always check the tide times before setting out and carry a means of communication. The bigger swells mean more unpredictable rip currents in the water so people should take extra care. Anyone in difficulty in the water should try not to panic or fight against any currents, hold onto anything buoyant they have, call for help and raise their hand to attract attention and try to keep their head above water.
‘The RNLI’s advice is not to enter the water if you see someone in trouble but rather to call 999 and ask for the coastguard.’
The RNLI lifeguard services are provided in partnership with councils and other landowners.
A host of information and advice on various aspects of water safety is available at http://rnli.org/safety/respect-the-water.
Notes to editors:
The attached picture shows RNLI lifeguards rescuing a family and their dogs cut off by the tide at Newgale beach in Pembrokeshire this summer. 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.