RNLI lifeguards to patrol Hastings beaches for the very first time this weekend
The Royal National Lifeboat Institution will launch its ‘gold standard’ lifeguard service at Hastings this weekend - the first time in history the charity has provided lifeguards for the town’s beaches.
Hastings Borough Council has operated its own lifeguard service at its beaches for many years, but this summer will see the council using lifeguards provided by the RNLI for the first time.
The charity’s lifeguards will start work on Pelham East Beach from this Saturday (27 May) and will be on duty seven days a week from 10am – 6pm until Sunday 3 September.
For the peak summer season an additional two beaches in Hastings will be covered by RNLI lifeguards. Pelham West will see a seven day a week service (10am – 6pm) from Saturday 8 July – Sunday 3 September, as will Marina St Leonards Beach.
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.
The Hastings 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.
‘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,’ said Allen Head, RNLI Area Lifesaving Manager.
‘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,’ he added.
Hastings Borough Council spokesman Kevin Boorman said: ‘We are very pleased to be working in partnership with the RNLI here in Hastings as they provide the ‘gold standard’ in beach lifeguarding. This is for a one-season trial initially and we look forward to seeing the results of this pilot at the end of the summer.’
The previous service run by Hastings Borough Council was supported by the Hastings and St Leonards Voluntary Lifeguard Club and the RNLI is hoping to work closely with the club in the future.
The roll-out of RNLI lifeguards at Hastings is part of a wider initiative by the RNLI to provide lifeguards in East Sussex. Earlier this month lifeguards began patrolling at Camber Sands Central Beach and will also be offering the service for the peak summer season at Camber Sands West and Bexhill-on-Sea beaches.
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.
To photograph or to interview the new Hastings lifeguards please contact the press office.
Photo caption: Angus Siberry, Senior Lifeguard at Hastings.
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Key facts about the RNLI: 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 Republic of Ireland from 236 lifeboat stations, including four along the River Thames and inland lifeboat stations at Loch Ness, Lough Derg, Enniskillen and Lough Ree. Additionally the RNLI has more than 1,000 lifeguards on over 180 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.
A charity registered in England and Wales (209603) and Scotland (SC037736). Charity number CHY 2678 in the Republic of Ireland.
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.