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First RNLI lifeguard visitor centre opens at Fistral beach

Lifeguards News Release

Crowds gathered to mark the official opening of the RNLI’s new visitor experience centre at Fistral beach this morning (Monday)

Paul Benney cuts the ribbon to open the new visitor centre

John Baldry

Paul Benney cuts the ribbon to open the new visitor centre

The new interactive visitor attraction is the first in the country dedicated to lifeguards and safety alone.

Located on the first floor of the lifeguard unit at Fistral beach, this exciting new facility allows members of the public to find out more about the RNLI lifeguards safety and prevention work through fun, interactive displays with a panoramic view of the beach.

Visitors can try on lifeguard kit, sit on a rescue watercraft used to save people in the water, see the medical kit lifeguards use and watch footage of previous rescues. They’ll also be ‘meet the lifeguards’ and ‘meet the lifeboat crew’ boards, a ‘dress the crew’ game and highlights of the RNLI’s lifeguarding history.

The centre will provide an engaging and educational experience where families visiting the local area can be equipped with the information required to stay safe when visiting the beach. It will also be utilised as a community space by school groups and other outreach work to support the RNLI’s work in communicating safety messages to the public.

Michael Charlton, RNLI Visitor Engagement Operations Manager, welcomed guests to the opening on Monday morning and introduced the visitor centre as a vital facility in supporting the local lifeguard teams with communicating safety messages, ensuring people are safe while enjoying Fistral beach. The RNLI’s Chief Executive Paul Boissier then explained the RNLI’s wider safety and prevention work, and thanked the new volunteer team who will operate the centre and interact with the public daily.

The visitor centre was then officially opened by Paul Benney, a former lifeguard who has four decades of experience of lifesaving in Newquay previously working for the council, the RNLI and now volunteering for the local surf lifesaving club. After Paul cut he ribbon, people were invited upstairs to take a look around. RNLI lifeguards then carried out a demonstration on the beach.

Julie Evans, RNLI Visitor Experience Manager, says: ‘We’re delighted this new facility is now open and already welcoming the public through its doors. This is a new venture for the RNLI and it will be pivitol in supporting the lifeguards by sharing important and relevant safety advice specifically for Fistral, helping people to keep safe when using the beach. The centre is manned by a new team of volunteers who are looking forward to meeting people and sharing the RNLI’s advice on beach safety.’

The centre will be open from 12pm to 3pm Monday to Saturday. We’re still looking for new volunteers to help man the centre, if anybody is interested please contact or 07818 688611 to find out more.

RNLI notes to editors

Photos attached are from the official opening on Monday. Credit RNLI/John Baldry

RNLI media contacts

For more information please contact Emma Haines, RNLI Regional Media Officer, on 07786 668847 or

Children enjoy trying out the RWC and uniform in the visitor centre

John Baldry

Children enjoy trying out the RWC and uniform in the visitor centre
Paul Benney speaking at the opening event

John Baldry

Paul Benney speaking at the opening event

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, Carrybridge 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

For more information please visit the RNLI website or Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. News releases, videos and photos are available on the News Centre.

Contacting the RNLI - public enquiries

Members of the public may contact the RNLI on 0300 300 9990 or by email.


The RNLI is a charity registered in England and Wales (209603) and Scotland (SC037736). Charity number 20003326 in the Republic of Ireland