19 additional beaches across the South West will begin RNLI lifeguard operations
19 more beaches across Dorset, Devon and Cornwall will have lifeguard cover from this weekend, bringing the total number of beaches to over 90 as the RNLI continues the planned roll out of its lifeguard service to reflect the increase in beach users as we move into the height of summer.
Already operational on over 70 beaches across the South West, RNLI lifeguards patrol daily between the hours of 10am-6pm. Professionally trained in casualty care and water rescue techniques, the role of a lifeguard is to educate and inform the public about possible dangers, whilst keeping everyone safe and able to enjoy their time at the coast.
The beaches in Dorset that will begin daily lifeguard operations are as follows; Sandy Bay, Lyme Regis (Cobb), and Greenhill. In Devon; Bigbury-on-Sea, Hope Cove, Slapton Sands (Monument), Blackpool Sands and Teignmouth South. And the beaches in Cornwall are; Crackington Haven, Northcott, South Fistral, Porth Kidney, Carbis Bay, Marazion, Perranuthnoe, Gunwalloe and Porthleven. Polurrian Cove will be weekends only.
Steve Instance, RNLI’s Water Safety Lead for the South West says,
‘With the addition of another 19 RNLI lifeguarded beaches, bringing the total to over 90, it gives people in the South West a wide range of options to always choose a lifeguarded beach. If you’re heading in the water always swim between the red and yellow flags. The area between the flags is actively patrolled by the lifeguards and is the safest for swimming and body-boarding.
‘On a busy summer day with a lot of people on the beach and in the water at any one time, going between the flags where the lifeguards can see you gives you the best chance of staying safe. It also means if you do get in to trouble for whatever reason, the lifeguards will be able to spot you quickly and come to your aid.’
Keith Renders, an RNLI lifeguard from Padstow, Cornwall, was recently involved in a dramatic rescue of Ella, a surfer who got pulled toward dangerous rocks in a flash rip current at Porthcothan beach.
‘I was out on a rescue board doing a patrol from the water when a huge set of waves came in. Suddenly a group a five beginner surfers got pulled into a flash rip heading towards a really rocky part of the beach. I could see it all happen and immediately paddled over to help.
It turned out to be a major rescue with Ella and I being winched from a rock to safety by the Coastguard helicopter. By choosing to come to a lifeguarded beach and with the help of everyone involved, it was a happy ending for Ella and her friends.’
Ella recalls the moment she got caught in the rip current,
‘The conditions in the water felt like they had got considerably worse very quickly. The current and the waves felt so strong. I was being dragged out to sea moving towards the rocks. It all happened really quickly and before we had time to do anything it was too late.’
A rip is a strong current of water running out to sea. Rips are always a danger on certain beaches, but are especially strong in large surf conditions, where flash or sudden-rips can occur with no warning. Ella continued saying,
‘Keith pulled me out of the water onto the rock that we were eventually rescued from. He was concerned that I was hurt and began doing a quick check. I couldn’t feel my body and I couldn’t stop myself from shaking. I felt so cold and so tired, but he kept me calm, asking me questions about my plans in the evening and my favourite hot drink, anything to help take my mind away from the situation we were in.
'I remember hearing the helicopter and feeling so thankful. As my feet lifted off the rock I felt an instant relief. When I got into the helicopter I was really overwhelmed. My body felt so cold, I was in so much shock and I couldn’t process what had just happened. The crew onboard made me feel comfortable and were very caring. It wasn’t until a couple of hours after the incident when I sat in the hospital bed that I was able to begin to think back on the situation. I am still so grateful and so thankful for the RNLI and for Keith the lifeguard that saved my life.’
If you ever find yourself caught in a rip current remember the following safety advice:
· Don’t try to swim against it or you’ll 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.
· Always raise your hand and shout for help.
If you spot anyone in danger in the water alert the lifeguards or call 999 and ask for the Coastguard.
A full list of RNLI lifeguarded beaches can be found here: rnli.org/find-my-nearest/lifeguarded-beaches
Notes to editors
· Please find attached images 1 + 2, photo credits (1) RNLI/Dean Wright, (2) RNLI/Nathan Williams
· Dorset beaches: Sandy Bay, Lyme Regis (Cobb), and Greenhill
· Devon beaches: Bigbury-on-Sea, Hope Cove, Slapton Sands (Monument), Blackpool Sands and Teignmouth South
· Cornwall beaches: Crackington Haven, Northcott, South Fistral, Lusty Glaze, Porth Kidney, Carbis Bay, Marazion, Perranuthnoe, Gunwalloe, Porthleven. Polurrian Cove (weekends only)
· Follow the link to see which beaches are currently lifeguarded https://rnli.org/find-my-nearest/beaches-with-lifeguards-on-patrol
· To support the RNLI’s lifesavers, go to: www.rnli.org/donate
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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.