Jersey RNLI lifeguards aid more than 3,000 people over a decade on the beaches
The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) has reached 10 years of delivering a world class lifeguard service to the community of Jersey and its visitors.
Since 2011, Jersey RNLI lifeguards have aided 3,014 people, responded to 2,553 incidents, and carried out 412,664 preventative actions, as well as saving the lives of 16 people. Operating on St Ouen’s, St Brelades Bay, Plémont and Grève de Lecq, the charity’s lifeguards work alongside the Jersey RNLI volunteer lifeboat crews at St Catherine and St Helier.
Back in 2011, Ed Stevens was one of the first RNLI Lifeguard Supervisors in Jersey and helped set-up the service. He said:
‘Beach lifeguarding had long been established in Jersey before the RNLI service was introduced, lifeguards from all over the world worked in Jersey keeping locals and visitors safe. One of the RNLI’s main aims when they took over was to create opportunities for locals to become professionally trained lifeguards, with a longer plan to create a sustainable, locally-staffed and managed service, which is what you see today.’
While celebrating a decade of lifeguarding in Jersey, the lifesaving charity is commemorating the introduction of the service 20 years ago when it started as a pilot scheme in the southwest. Since the service first launched in 2001 there has been huge advancements in the equipment and training available to lifeguards, including safety literature information and warning signs for individual beaches, that help visitors know what dangers to look out for and how to keep themselves safe.
Jake Elms, born and bred in Jersey, joined the team as a seasonal lifeguard back in 2013, he is now the RNLI’s Lead Lifeguard Supervisor on the Island, and heads up the team of 37 local people. He said:
‘Over the early years we worked alongside the Australian lifeguards and gained valuable experience, which also opened up opportunities to lifeguard overseas for the winter periods. Now in 2021, we’ve reached our goal with all our team being made up of locals. This means we can provide a service that’s sustainable and has great knowledge of Jersey’s beaches.
‘Most of a lifeguard’s work is all about prevention, educating beach goers and spotting things before they become dangerous. As more people enjoy the beach and the water, it’s vital we are proactive and try to prevent incidents from happening. It is a pleasure to work alongside the volunteer lifeboat crews at St Catherine’s and St Helier, working together to ensure the people of Jersey and visitors enjoy their time on the coast for the right reasons.’
Jersey’s Minister for Home Affairs, Deputy Gregory Guida, said: ‘I am very happy to celebrate the anniversary of the RNLI lifeguards in Jersey who work alongside the volunteer lifeboat crews. I have been a member for years and as a sailor myself, I always feel reassured when on the water that the RNLI are only a radio call away. To have the same level of service from the lifeguards when you are in the water without a boat, enjoying some of our lovely beaches is amazing.
Nathan Elms, one of the Season Lifeguard Supervisors, who works alongside Jake to manage the lifeguard team says:
‘Although the lifeguard service has developed over time, the fundamentals are the same, we still need well trained, capable, skilled lifeguards on our beaches. Most of the lifeguard’s work is about being proactive and talking to people before they get into trouble.
This has developed alongside the amount of people we now get visiting our beaches and going in the water. Jersey has some of the largest tidal ranges in the world, so a lot of our prevention work revolves around this. Rip currents can also be a challenge – especially at St Ouen’s Bay.
‘A good lifeguard is motivated to keep the public safe in the water and enjoy the beach environment. It’s also key they can work as a team, provide safety advice and maintain their fitness to a high standard.’
From beach safety and prevention to rescuing those in the water and delivering casualty care, RNLI lifeguards are prepared to deal with any situation they might face. The team in Jersey are urging anyone choosing to visit the coast, to make sure they keep themselves and their families safe by following beach safety advice:
· Visit a lifeguarded beach and swim between the red and yellow flags -– find your nearest at rnli.org.uk/lifeguardedbeaches
· Check the weather forecast, tide times and read local hazard signage to understand local risks
· If you fall into the water unexpectedly, FLOAT TO LIVE. Fight your instinct to thrash around, lean back, extend your arms and legs, and Float.
· In an emergency dial 999 and ask for the Coastguard.
You can keep up to date with relevant water safety advice on social media by searching #RespectTheWater so that you can have an enjoyable and safe time at the coast.
Notes to editors
· Please find attached a selection of images from past and present RNLI Jersey Lifeguards (credit for all images: RNLI/Jersey):
Image 1: Jersey RNLI lifeguards use RWC (rescue water craft) and rescue boards to create ‘1 0’ in the water.
Image 2: 2021 Jersey RNLI lifeguards recreate the 2011 picture in front of La Rocco Tower, St Ouens Bay.
Image 3: Jersey RNLI lifeguards back in 2011 in front of La Rocco Tower, St Ouens Bay.
· Year on year the RNLI’s lifeguard service has grown through working with partners and since starting on just a handful of beaches, RNLI lifeguards now operate on over 240 beaches across the UK and Ireland.
· 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
RNLI media contacts
For more information please contact Claire Fitzpatrick-Smith, Media Engagement Placement (south west) on email@example.com or 07902 975993, or Amy Caldwell, Regional Media Manager on 07920 818807 or Amy_Caldwell@rnli.org.uk. Alternatively, please contact the RNLI Press Office on 01202 336789 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information on the RNLI please visit rnli.org. News releases and other media resources, including RSS feeds, downloadable photos and video, are available at the RNLI News Centre rnli.org/news-and-media.
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 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and 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.