Lifeguards have recently responded to an increase of incidents related to offshore winds on Swansea’s coastline, and want to emphasise the importance of beach and sea safety.
RNLI lifeguards are on-hand to give advice to the public, to supervise beach-goers and to rescue those who find themselves in difficulty. The RNLI advises the public to visit lifeguarded beaches during the hours of 10am to 6pm. There are 240 operational lifeguarded beaches which are patrolled each summer around the UK and Channel Islands.
Two Swansea RNLI lifeguards, Nathaniel James and Eleri Hulme, recently used their rescue water craft to rescue two young adults who were being swept out to sea on inflatable lilos. When offshore winds are strong, RNLI lifeguards display an orange windsock, which indicates that it is unsafe to take inflatables into the water.
Strong offshore winds can put even strong swimmers in danger, and they also pose a threat to beach-goers using inflatables. The RNLI urge the public to be careful with inflatables and to only use them between the red and yellow flags when there is no orange windsock flying, as offshore winds can quickly push people out to sea.
The lifeguards display different flags on the beaches to reflect the sea and weather conditions. Lifeguards will display two red and yellow flags to mark the area which is safest for swimmers, body-boarders and the use of inflatables. Black and white chequered flags mark where is safest for surfboards, stand-up paddle-boards, kayaks and other non-powered craft- and is an area for swimmers to avoid. Red beach flags are used to identify a dangerous area of the sea, and swimmers shouldn’t enter a red flagged area under any circumstances.
Lifeguard Supervisor for Swansea Jessica Gates said, ‘We want people to enjoy the beaches, but we encourage people to respect the water and visit lifeguarded beaches. It’s important to check the weather and tide conditions before entering the sea, and to ask RNLI lifeguards for safety advice if you’re unsure about anything.’
You can find more information on lifeguarded beaches, and learn more beach safety tips on the Safety section of the RNLI website.
Notes to editors:
As RNLI lifeguards need to be physically on the beach during the patrolled hours, ready to respond to emergencies and prevent accidents, the RNLI can’t rely on volunteers to provide this cover seven days a week.
Local authorities’ part-fund the RNLI’s costs, which helps to meet the cost of lifeguard wages.
Katie Lewis, Media Engagement Placement (Wales and West) at email@example.com or Eleri Roberts, RNLI Regional Media Officer on 01745 585162 / 07771 941390 or email Eleri_Roberts@rnli.org.uk
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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