RNLI Lifeguards’ season at Camber Sands winds down
The season began at Camber on 26 May and ended today, 28 October, for the lifeguards at Camber.
Rob Cass, Coastal Officer for Camber beaches reflected: ‘The RNLI Lifeguard Service gives us a valuable resource in prevention and ultimately in reacting to incidents in the water. It is now an integral part of the operation involving RDC (Rother District Council), Sussex Police, SECamb ( South East Coast Ambulance Service) and HM Coastguard. This summer has been extremely busy because of the hot weather. The experience has provided an invaluable ‘on the job training’ for the lifeguards and has stood them in good stead for future years. They faced all the challenges that the sea and shoreline could throw at them and as a result of their high quality training and fitness they coped with flying colours. They dealt with crowds of 25,000 plus and missing children, sometimes as many as thirty or more a day. Medical attention given to the public involved treating anaphylactic shock, unconscious adults, heart-related problems, stings and burns from barbecues’.
This summer the lifeguards and the Beach Patrols re-united over 300 missing children with their thankful parents. Low tide is the most challenging scenario for missing children: they wander down to the water-line, often 600 metres from the sandy beach, and have a paddle with a sibling. When they realise the tide is coming in they decide to go back to their parents but are thrown into confusion with so many people on the beach and cannot find them. Parents are advised to keep their children in their sight at all times and to respect the water.
It is very obvious that the lifeguards love their job and are very dedicated at saving lives at sea but today was full of mixed emotions. The team was soon to be disbanded, as it was the last day of the season. They had made good friends whilst working together and bonds had been forged. New experiences await many of them until they come together again next season. Leon Driver is off to New Zealand to be a lifeguard there. He will use his skills learnt here with the RNLI but will also train as a member of the crew and helm on their Inflatable Rubber Boats. They use boats much more in the New Zealand Lifeguard Service which is a bonus for Leon. He is looking forward to the challenges and hopes to be back at Camber next summer.
Camber Sands has been a safe place for families this year with so many services working together to ensure that the seaside is a happy family experience. The lifeguards teach visitors to respect the sea and the tides and ensure that they return home with memories of a great fun holiday.
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• Kt Bruce, Rye Harbour RNLI volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer (07789) 818878 Kt@ktbrucephotography.com
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• For enquiries outside normal business hours, contact the RNLI duty press officer on 01202 336789
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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 Ireland from 237 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.
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.
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The RNLI is a charity registered in England and Wales (209603) and Scotland (SC037736). Charity number 20003326 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.