A busy start to the season for RNLI lifeguards in North Devon
RNLI lifeguards in North Devon have been kept busy following their two week induction training. The lifeguards have been speaking to more than 8,000 children aged 5 to 11 during 50 school visits in the area educating them about water and beach safety and the RNLI’s vital work saving lives at sea.
RNLI Lifeguard Supervisor for North Devon Matt Whitley says: ‘All of the lifeguards have been through 2 weeks of training including fitness, skills and knowledge required. The training standards are extremely high and on the final day of training we bring all elements together with a day of beach exercises and scenarios to put what they’ve learnt into practice before going on patrol.’
Lifeguards are now present on RNLI patrolled beaches in North Devon and are already helping to educate beachgoers and assist those who find themselves in trouble in the water.
At Croyde there have been several rescues to help surfers and body boarders caught out by rip currents as well as lifeguards aiding beachgoers with varying injuries.
The beaches at Woolacombe and Westward Ho! have also been busy with the inshore rescue boat used by lifeguards to rescue a windsurfer who was struggling to sail back to shore when he suffered an injury.
It comes as the RNLI launches its Respect the Water campaign. The charity’s national drowning prevention campaign has entered its fourth year, with this year’s message focussing on what people should do if they find themselves in the water unexpectedly. Members of the public are being encouraged to fight their instincts and remember one core survival skill – floating, until the effects of cold water shock pass and they can catch their breath, before then trying to swim to safety or call for help.
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The Royal National Lifeboat Institution is the charity that saves lives at sea. Our volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service in the United Kingdom and Ireland from 238 lifeboat stations, including four along the River Thames and inland lifeboat stations at Loch Ness, Lough Derg, Enniskillen, Carrybridge and Lough Ree. Additionally the RNLI has more than 1,000 lifeguards on over 240 beaches around the UK and operates a specialist flood rescue team, which can respond anywhere across the UK and Ireland when inland flooding puts lives at risk.
The RNLI relies on public donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. As a charity it is separate from, but works alongside, government-controlled and funded coastguard services. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824 our lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved at least 140,000 lives. Volunteers make up 95% of the charity, including 4,600 volunteer lifeboat crew members and 3,000 volunteer shore crew. Additionally, tens of thousands of other dedicated volunteers raise funds and awareness, give safety advice, and help in our museums, shops and offices.
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