Sibling lifeguard team safeguard Thanet's beaches together for the first time
Brother and sister Jamie and Ellie Hopper have recently started their fourth and fifth seasons as RNLI lifeguards. Yet despite their long running commitment to the Thanet beaches, the siblings only crossed paths at work very recently when they completed their first shift together at Margate.
The fact that Jamie and Ellie have never worked alongside each other highlights the vast area that Thanet RNLI lifeguards cover, as well as the diversity of the work that they do – from first aid at Botany Bay to advising people to be cautious around the tidal pool at Margate Main Beach.
After Ellie’s initial season as a lifeguard her brother Jamie decided to join, not only because it sounded like a fantastic way to spend the summer, but also because it gave him a stable job through the summer months. Both Ellie and Jamie swum competitively until the ages of 18.
'It seemed like the natural step forward to become a lifeguard,' said Jamie. His favourite aspects of the job are being able to call the beach his office and the professional training RNLI lifeguards receive to confidently operate rescue water craft and all-terrain vehicles such as quad bikes.
RNLI lifeguard training takes place weekly, both ashore and in the water and typically involves casualty scenarios, first aid and equipment training. Although never having been on shift together, Ellie and Jamie were able to put their experience of working side by side in this regular training into action on the beaches.
A typical day as an RNLI lifeguard involves interacting with the public whilst patrolling the beaches. Jamie said: ‘We encourage everyone to come and say hello to us on the Thanet beaches; we are always happy to share local knowledge and answer questions about the different flags we use.’
With years of experience and knowledge under their belts Jamie and Ellie each decided at the beginning of this season to apply for the position of an RNLI senior lifeguard. This advanced role involves supervising the running of a beach lifeguard unit and ensuring the service is effective and efficient.
Successfully meeting the requirements for this position, Ellie was in fact responsible for leading the team of lifeguards that included her brother, on their first shift together. Jamie has since been informed that he too will join his sister in undertaking the position of RNLI senior lifeguard.
RNLI Lifeguards will be patrolling the following Thanet beaches daily (10am - 6pm) until Sunday 2 September: Minnis Bay, West Bay Beach, St Mildred's, Westbrook Bay, Margate Main Beach, Botany Bay, Joss Bay, Stone Bay, Broadstairs (Viking Bay) and Ramsgate Main Beach.
RNLI Media contacts
Taylor Johnson, Lifeguards Press Officer (Summer 2018) for the South East 07785 296252
Paul Dunt, Regional Media Officer (South East), 0207 6207426, 07785 296252 [email protected]
For enquiries outside normal business hours, contact the RNLI duty press officer on 01202 336789
RNLI online: For more information on the RNLI please visit http://www.rnli.org/. News releases and other media resources, including RSS feeds, downloadable photos and video, are available at the RNLI News Centre.
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 Ireland from 238 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 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.Learn more about the RNLI
Members of the public may contact the RNLI on 0300 300 9990 or by email.
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.
Learn more about the RNLI
Contacting the RNLI - public enquiries