RNLI issues safety advice as 2016 lifeguard season draws to a close
RNLI lifeguard patrols are due to finish on the majority of beaches across Cornwall and Devon this weekend as the summer draws to a close.
As in previous years, lifeguards will remain on duty into October on a number of the region’s busiest beaches for those people wishing to get into the water in the autumn.
This Sunday (25 September) sees the official end to the RNLI lifeguard season in Cornwall and Devon. However due to increasing numbers of people looking to spend time at the beach out of season, the charity will continue to provide safety cover on a number of beaches on the following dates:
1-2 October, 8-9 October, 15-16 October and half term week 22- 30 October.
The beaches with lifeguard cover are: Woolacombe, Croyde and Bantham in Devon; and Praa Sands, Sennen, Porthmeor, Gwithian, Porthtowan, Perranporth, Watergate Bay, Polzeath and Widemouth in Cornwall.
At Summerleaze, volunteer RNLI lifeguards along with volunteers from Bude Surf Lifesaving Club will patrol the beach to provide the same cover in October.
Fistral beach in Newquay will have lifeguard cover every day throughout October and voluntary patrols during weekends in November. At Mawgan Porth the RNLI will run advisory patrols during half term to advise visitors on how to stay safe at the beach.
Steve Instance, Senior RNLI Lifeguard Manager, says: ‘It has been a very busy season for our lifeguards; we have seen huge numbers of people coming to beaches in the south west over the summer.
‘Each year RNLI lifeguards deal with a whole range of things, from sea rescues, to first aid incidents and lost children. Our lifeguards have worked really hard and have once again done a fantastic job of keeping people safe at the coast this summer.
‘As in previous years, patrols on some of the busiest beaches will be extended into October, so where possible we would encourage people heading to the coast at weekends and during half term to visit these lifeguarded beaches.
‘Those who can't make it to a lifeguarded beach 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 being aware of the conditions and their own capabilities in the water.
‘Autumn can see 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.
Note to editors
Attached photos show RNLI lifeguards at work. Credit- Idenna
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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.