RNLI lifeguards in Cornwall to patrol Seaton Beach for first time this summer

Lifeguards News Release

RNLI lifeguard and lifeboat crew members took part in a joint training exercise as preparations take place to patrol Seaton Beach during peak season for the first time.

RNLI/Carrie Garrad

RNLI lifeguards and Looe lifeboat crew members took part in a joint training exercise

The charity’s lifeguards will start work at the beach on Saturday 8 July and will be on duty seven days a week from 10am – 6pm until Sunday 3 September.

RNLI lifeguards receive world class training and equipment, are taught a variety of life-saving techniques and have advanced first aid skills and a detailed knowledge of the local risks and hazards at each of the beaches they patrol.

Last night (Wednesday 28 June) lifeguards and volunteer crew members from Looe Lifeboat Station took part in a joint training exercise at Seaton, involving a number of different scenarios.

Lifeguard Supervisor Charlie Gillett said: ‘Seaton beach is popular with families because of its easy access. We want people to enjoy the beach, but it’s important for them to be aware of local hazards and this is something our lifeguards can advise beachgoers on. The main risks are that it is a steep shelving beach and people entering the water can find themselves quite deep fairly quickly. Tidal cut offs also present a risk to the west side of the beach and there is a fast flowing river on the right hand side of the beach as you look out to sea that people should be aware of.’

The Seaton lifeguards, clad in their distinctive red and yellow uniforms, will use a range of life-saving equipment including rescue boards and rescue tubes. They will also be on hand to offer advice on how to stay safe in the water.

RNLI Area Lifesaving Manager James Millidge said: ‘Our lifeguards are highly skilled and undergo a rigorous programme of training so they are ready to help prevent incidents and to respond rapidly if people get into difficulty in the water.

‘A key part of their work is prevention, so they will be asking people to respect the water and will be offering advice on how to stay safe by learning about currents, tides and other local dangers.’

Cornwall Council currently contributes almost £920,000 a year towards the RNLI’s beach lifeguard service. The grant to the RNLI helps them provide lifeguard cover on 58 Cornish beaches throughout the main holiday season from April to September.

Councillor Sue James, Cornwall Council Cabinet Member for Environment and Public Protection, said: ‘It is excellent news that Lifeguard cover can be provided to Seaton Beach this summer, to keep our visitors safe. I know the public feel reassured by the presence of the RNLI.’

The Council and the RNLI are also part of Beachwise, a partnership to promote safe enjoyment of Cornwall’s beautiful beaches and clean bathing waters.

In 2016, RNLI lifeguards on 227 beaches around the UK dealt with 17,414 incidents and helped 20,538 people. Incidents ranged from slips, trips and stings to more serious water rescues. In total they saved 127 lives.

Notes to editors

· Interviews available with Area Lifesaving Manager James Millidge.

· Pictures available upon request

· The RNLI carry out detailed assessments to see what level of lifeguard cover should be provided on each beach. This involves looking at the number of people who used the beach, the type of activities taking place on the beach, and the topography of the local area. Outside of the main season there are signs on the beaches offering advice.

· BeachWise is also supported by the Environment Agency, Keep Britain Tidy, Marine Conservation Society, South West Coast Path Association, South West Water, Surf Life Saving Great Britain and Visit Cornwall and brings together beach safety advice and useful information from all the organisations involved. A colourful, fun and interactive online tool, Beachwise highlights 20 top tips to help beachgoers enjoy a safe, fun, healthy and relaxing day by the sea.

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For more information contact Carrie Garrad, RNLI Press Officer, on 07786 668847 or [email protected]

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RNLI/Ian Foster

The joint training took place ahead of the start of RNLI lifeguard patrols at Seaton

RNLI/Carrie Garrad

RNLI lifeguards and volunteer crew members at Looe Lifeboat have been training together

RNLI/Carrie Garrad

RNLI lifeguards have been undergoing extensive training before patrols start at Seaton on July 8

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 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.

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Contacting the RNLI - public enquiries

Members of the public may contact the RNLI on 0300 300 9990 (UK) or 1800 991802 (Ireland) or by email.