RNLI lifeguards return to the Wirral and Southport this weekend

Lifeguards News Release

RNLI lifeguards are set to begin their full-time summer safety service this weekend at key north west locations including Southport and the Wirral.

RNLI lifeguards return to the Wirral and Southport

RNLI/Jon Keighren

RNLI lifeguards return to the Wirral and Southport

From Saturday (26 May) lifeguards will be providing daily safety patrols on Southport beach and five of the Wirral’s most popular beaches – West Kirby, Moreton, Harrison Drive, The Plateaux and Fort Perch in New Brighton. From 30 June there will also be a daily RNLI lifeguard service on nearby Leasowe Bay.

RNLI lifeguards have already been providing a weekend service on many north west beaches since April, giving advice and assistance to beachgoers. Ryan Jennings, RNLI Lifeguard Supervisor for the Wirral, is expecting another busy season.

He said: “The north west has some beautiful beaches, but we would always encourage anyone planning a trip to the seaside to visit a lifeguarded beach and always swim between the red and yellow flags.”

From Saturday (26 May)
lifeguards will be on duty at Southport and the five Wirral beaches daily between 10am and 6pm until the end of the season on 2 September.

The Wirral lifeguard service is provided in partnership with Wirral Council. Cabinet Member for Environment, Cllr Matthew Patrick, said: “It is great to see the RNLI lifeguards on Wirral’s beaches again for the 2018 season. I want to thank all of them for helping keep people safe. There is no doubt that the presence of RNLI lifeguards help bring even more people to our beautiful beaches.”

Lifeguards responded to 1,167 incidents in North Wales and the North West last year and rescued or assisted 6,789 people.

The RNLI has launched its Respect the Water drowning prevention campaign, with advice for anyone who finds themselves unexpectedly in cold water. Most people who die around the UK coast never expected to enter the water at all and the RNLI is urging anyone who falls into cold water to fight their instincts and remember one simple skill – floating – which could save lives from drowning.

Ryan said: “We often rely on our instincts but our instinctive response to sudden immersion in cold water – gasping, thrashing and swimming hard – is potentially a killer. It increases the chances of water entering your lungs, increases the strain on your heart, cools the skin further and lets air escape from any clothing, which then reduces buoyancy.

“Although it’s counter-intuitive, the best immediate course of action in that situation is to fight your instinct and try to float or rest, just for a short time. The effects of cold water shock will pass quite quickly, within 60–90 seconds. Floating for this short time will let you regain control of your breathing and your survival chances will greatly increase.

“It’s our goal to halve the number of accidental coastal deaths by 2024.”

For more information and advice on all aspects of beach and coastal safety visit the RNLI’s Respect the Water campaign website at https://rnli.org/safety/respect-the-water

Notes to editors:

The attached picture shows an RNLI lifeguard in action. Credit RNLI.

Interviews with RNLI Lifeguard staff are available on request.

RNLI media contacts:

For more information or to arrange an interview please contact Jon Keighren, RNLI Press Officer, Wales and West, on 07776 009999 or by email on
jon_keighren@rnli.org.uk. Alternatively call the RNLI Press Office on 01202 336789.

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.

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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.