RNLI lifeguards return to Scottish beaches ahead of busy staycation summer
Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) lifeguards are returning to seven beaches across Scotland today, bringing with them lifesaving equipment and vital beach safety advice.
A further lifeguarded beach at Broughty Ferry in Dundee has been established following collaboration with Dundee City Council ahead of what is anticipated to be a very busy summer for the lifesaving charity. This brings the total number of RNLI lifeguard patrolled beaches in Scotland to eight.
RNLI Lead Lifeguard Supervisor, Gio Ceccarelli, said:
“Our beautiful beaches offer a great opportunity to enjoy fresh air and open spaces but can also be unpredictable and dangerous environments, particularly during a typical Scottish summer when air temperatures start warming up but water temperatures remain dangerously cold. With more people than ever planning to stay at home this summer, now more than ever, we encourage people to visit a lifeguarded beach if they plan to enter the water.
“RNLI lifeguards keep a constant watch on the shore, the weather, and the sea conditions. They are able to highlight areas of potential danger and adjust the swimming area accordingly. The weather can change quickly and sea conditions can become very dangerous. This is why we suggest you visit a lifeguarded beach when coming to the coast.”
Speaking about the commencement of a lifeguard service on Broughty Ferry Beach, Dundee City Council environment convener, Councillor Anne Rendall said:
“We are delighted to have partnered with the RNLI to secure the provision of lifeguards on Broughty Ferry beach this summer.
“The golden sands at Broughty Ferry are a real jewel in the city’s crown, and were recently recognised with a Scotland’s Beach Award.
“This staycation summer, we expect Broughty beach to be very busy indeed as people take the chance to enjoy some outdoor fun in the sun.
“I would encourage all beach users, particularly those who enjoy open swimming in water that can still be very cold even at this time of year, to stay safe and follow the lifeguards’ advice at all times.”
Lifeguards had already started patrols on two of Scotland’s beaches, Silversands and Coldingham from May 29. Just a few weekends later lifeguards estimated that around 4000 people visited Silversands beach in Aberdour, Fife. It is these kind of crowds that the RNLI expect to see replicated all along the coast this summer.
RNLI lifeguards not only monitor the coast but are also on hand to offer safety advice and administer minor first aid to beach goers. They are also there to help when things do go wrong such as at Silversands Beach on the first lifeguarded weekend of the year. In one incident, lifeguards stepped in when they spotted a paddleboarder in difficulty.
“The paddleboarder had drifted too far out from the shore to make their own way back,” recalls Gio Ceccarelli. “The lifeguards used their knowledge of the beach, tides and coastline to assist the paddleboarder back to safety further along the coast. In this case we were able to spot the incident unfolding and were able to react very quickly. The person involved had made the right decision to visit a lifeguarded beach that day as otherwise they might not have been spotted so quickly. You should always carry a mobile phone in a waterproof pouch when out on the water so that you can call for help if you do need it. If you spot someone in difficulty on the coast, call 999 and ask for the coastguard"
With continued uncertainty over foreign holidays and international travel, the RNLI is predicting this summer will be the busiest ever as Covid restrictions are eased and people choose to ‘staycation’.
“We are expecting this summer to be very busy for our lifeguards and volunteer lifeboat crews” said the RNLI’s Regional Water Safety Lead, Michael Avril. “These new figures back that up.
“We want people to enjoy the coast but urge everyone to respect the water, think about their own safety and know what to do in an emergency.
“By choosing to visit a lifeguarded beach you will find yourself in an environment where lifeguards are monitoring the water, ready to respond in an instant. Our lifeguards are not only trained to operate their lifesaving equipment, defibrillators and first aid, but are also armed with a multitude of safety advice aimed at preventing incidents before they occur.”
· Visit a lifeguarded beach where possible and then swim between the red and yellow flags
· If you get into trouble Float to Live – lie on your back and relax, resisting the urge to thrash about
· Call 999 in an emergency 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 editor
Dates for and locations for Scottish RNLI lifeguard patrolled beaches:
Aberdour, Silver Sands: Daily 29 May - 29 August / Weekend Only 4 - 26 September / Patrol times: 10am - 6pm
Burntisland Beach: Daily 19 June - 22 August / Patrol times: 10am - 6pm
Coldingham Bay Beach: Daily 29 May - 5 September / Weekends Only 11 - 26 September / Patrol times: 10am - 6pm
Elie Harbour Beach: Daily 19 June - 22 August / Patrol times: 10am - 6pm
Leven Beach: Daily 19 June - 22 August / Patrol times: 10am - 6pm
St.Andrews East Sands Beach: Daily 19 June - 22 August / Patrol times: 10am - 6pm
St.Andrews West Sands Beach: Daily 19 June - 22 August / Patrol times: 10am - 6pm
Broughty Ferry Beach: Daily 21 June - 5 September / Patrol times: 10am - 6pm
The RNLI and Her Majesty’s (HM) Coastguard launched a joint beach safety campaign earlier this year after a new study revealed that around 30M1 people plan to visit the UK coast this summer.
In a survey2, commissioned by the RNLI, 75% of those questioned - aged 16-64 - expect to visit a UK beach or the coast this summer, with around half of that number likely to do so three or more times. A significantly higher proportion of the public (36%) also said they plan to visit the coast more than usual this year, compared to 2020 (24%).
· 1 Office for National Statistics: 2019 UK population aged 16-64 was 41.7M
· 2 Basis Research, RNLI Water Safety Survey, April 2021. Representative sample of 1,007 adults aged 16-64
Interviews are available, upon request, with Michael Avril Water Safety Lead for Scotland and/or other members of the Water Safety Team. Interviews on beaches, with lifeguards, are also available, please contact the media team for lead times and set up.
RNLI media contacts
Martin Macnamara, Regional Media Officer (Scotland), 07920 365929 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Gemma McDonald, Regional Media Manager (Scotland), 07826 900639 or email@example.com
Nick Mailer, Media Engagement Placement (Scotland), 07929 673285 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Dundee City Council Media Contact
Steven Bell, email@example.com 07985 817977
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.