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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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.