With temperatures rising, RNLI lifeguards prepare for another busy weekend ahead

Lifeguards News Release

RNLI lifeguards are gearing up for a busy weekend across the south west’s beaches with temperatures predicted to be in the mid to high 20’s. Crowds are expected to be heading to the coast and the charity is encouraging beachgoers to heed the RNLI’s water safety advice and adhere to social distancing

RNLI/Sam Hawken

A busy Porthcurno beach last week

Bathers and bodyboarders caught in rip currents, going out of their depth, and being cut off by the incoming tide, are the main causes of incidents RNLI lifeguards have been dealing with across the region, with 30 rescues in one day on just one beach in Cornwall last week.

Kitty Norman, RNLI Water Safety Delivery Support says;

‘The beaches across the whole of the south west are extremely busy at the moment with both locals who are holidaying at home this year and an influx of visitors to the region. The sheer volume of people making social distancing tricky is one thing to be conscious of before planning your trip to the beach.

‘You might choose to visit the beach at a quieter time of day, or choose a beach with more space, where you can still bathe between the flagged area, but spread out further when setting up camp for the day. If you arrive at the beach and it is simply too crowded, consider moving on and spending your day elsewhere.

‘Checking the tide times is advised - as the tide comes in, it reduces the available space for people to spread out and leads to beaches getting more crowded.

‘While the lifeguards are very approachable and always available to provide information or safety advice, please do respect a 2-metre distance for their safety.’

With large tides still present this weekend, the tide will flood in quickly, increasing the amount of water moving around and enhancing the risk of stronger rip currents.

Steve Instance, RNLI Water Safety Lead in the south west, says;

‘Rip current rescues are the most common incident the lifeguards deal with on our beaches, the strong currents can quickly sweep bathers out of their depth, which is when panic sets in.

‘Please use a beach with a lifeguard patrol, keep an eye on your family members and take a moment before arriving at the beach to understand, not just what rip currents are, but how to react if you are caught in one or see someone else in trouble.’

If you find yourself caught in a rip current, try to remember the following key safety advice:

  • Don’t try to swim against it, you will quickly get exhausted
  • If you can stand, wade don’t swim
  • If you can, swim parallel to the shore until free of the rip and then head for shore
  • If you can’t swim – FLOAT to live by leaning back in the water, extending your arms and legs, and resisting the urge to thrash around to gain control of your breathing
  • Always raise your hand and shout for help
  • If you see anyone else in trouble, alert the lifeguards or call 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard.

Notes to Editors

Media contacts
For more information please contact Becky Bright, Regional Media Engagement Placement on Becky_Bright@rnli.org.uk or 07375855897, or Amy Caldwell, Regional Media Manager on Amy_Caldwell@rnli.org.uk or 07920818807 or RNLI Press Office on 01202 336789 or via pressoffice@rnli.org.uk .

RNLI/Lewis Timson

Fistral beach in Newquay last week

RNLI/Ollie Shilston

Crowded Porthminster beach last weekend

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

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