RNLI lifeguards train Arcadia Bathing Club members to be lifesavers
Two RNLI lifeguards have provided training to members of the Arcadia Bathing Club in Portrush which will enable them to respond as lifeguards in the event of anyone getting into trouble in or near the water.
The offer came about following a discussion between the club and the lifeguards where they realised that if some members of the club had basic lifeguard training they could deal with some emergencies quickly themselves or provide important assistance before further help arrives.
The long-established and popular club swims most days and has had a few incidents in the past where people have fallen on rocks near the water, been stung by jellyfish and weaver fish, or got caught out in rip currents. They felt that if they had the knowledge and training they would be able to help. The lifeguards, Karl O’Neil and Michael Thompson, who train the RNLI’s lifeguards, looked at the training they provide their people and adapted it for the swimming club.
The members have now qualified as beach lifeguards and have received their certificates. The training started in January and finished last week.
Commenting on the initiative RNLI Lifeguard Supervisor Karl O’Neill said, ‘We were delighted to be able to help out the Arcadia Bathing Club. This was a great initiative that could be adopted by other groups and organisations. Lifeboat crews and lifeguards like to train with other agencies to be ready for all types of situations. By training people to help immediately on scene they could potentially save a life. These lifeguards won’t be patrolling beaches but they are trained to the highest standards. Well done to the members who took this step to provide safety support themselves to their club.’
Adding his support, Arcadia member Stephen McConnell said, ‘Having some of us trained up as lifeguards is a great idea and a comfort to those of us who know how unforgiving the sea and its environment can be at times. As we swim all year round the number of people in the water can increase and fall and it is reassuring to have people on hand to offer help if it’s needed. We are big supporters of the RNLI and their work but it’s great to know they can support us in this way too.’
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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 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.