Somerset RNLI lifeguards finish ‘best job’ after their busiest summer

Lifeguards News Release

Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) lifeguards in Somerset have finished their patrols for the 2021 season after the busiest they’ve ever had in terms of visitor numbers, major first aids and taking preventative actions.

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Somerset RNLI lifeguard team for 2021 season (Harry Chick second from right)

With many choosing to holiday at home this year, the beaches in Somerset have seen thousands of people enjoying time with friends and family. During the peak summer months, RNLI lifeguards operate a daily lifeguard service between 10am-6pm on Burnham-on-sea and Berrow.

Luke Penman, RNLI Lifeguard Supervisor for Somerset says,

‘We knew it was going to be a busy season right from the get-go. Back in May when we first started lifeguard operations on the beach, we were seeing up to twice the amount of beach users than previous years.

The high volume of people continued throughout summer which led to the lifeguards responding to more major first aid incidents than any other year. It also meant the lifeguards carried out lots of preventative actions, including proactive communication to the public to educate and inform of any possible dangers.’

To prepare them for the season, RNLI lifeguards are specially trained in how to spot and assess danger in a beach environment by performing dynamic risk assessments. They also must maintain a high level of physical fitness for the water-rescue techniques as well as casualty care.

Luke continued,

‘This year we had some new lifeguards join our existing team in Somerset. The whole team undergo training together before the season starts, which allows them to build their skills and working relationships between the newer and more experienced guards.’

RNLI lifeguard Harry Chick, 19, has just finished his first season with the team in Somerset, he says,

‘My first season has been amazing. I’ve looked forward to going to work every day and being excited to do the job, it’s a feeling I haven’t experienced before. Being a RNLI lifeguard has taught me so much over the past summer, including my casualty care skills and the ability to look after and help people.

Over the past few months, I really feel my maturity has developed due to how busy it has been, the sometimes-serious nature of the incidents we deal with and the duty of care we have for those on our beaches.

It’s been non-stop since we started and during the last day of the season (Sunday 5 September) a lady suffered a severe seizure in which she also dislocated her shoulder.

The tide was incoming rapidly and we worked together with the Coastguard and ambulance service to provide casualty care Overall, it was a great effort by everyone involved and the casualty had a successful recovery.

Working closely with each other over the summer you build a tight-knit team. I completely trust my fellow lifeguards to do what needs to be done in any situation that may arise, and I can’t wait to come back next season as it really is the best summer job.’

Last Saturday (4 September) the Somerset team held an ‘RNLI lifeguard taster session’ at Burnham-on-Sea. Luke said,

‘I wanted to run the session to raise the profile of our team here in Somerset and to give anyone that may be interested an opportunity to learn more about the role of a RNLI lifeguard. We had four people come along on Saturday and I was delighted with the turn out for our first taster session.

We will be re-opening lifeguard recruitment for the 2022 season in January. Anyone interested in applying should visit the RNLI website where you will find all the information you need on how to become one of our beach lifeguards.’

Harry added,

‘I would say to anyone thinking of joining the team for 2022 is, just do it as you won’t regret it. The job is genuinely like no other and it’s incredibly rewarding. It provides you with valuable life skills and training that allow you to save lives on and off the job.’

The south west region has the biggest RNLI lifeguard team in the UK and the charity have recently launched the RNLI South West Lifeguard Appeal, with the aim of raising the vital funds needed to train lifeguards to carry out their lifesaving work.

Dave Nicoll, Fundraising and Partnership Lead in the south west says,

‘RNLI lifeguards have been working extremely hard throughout spring and summer to deliver a world-class lifeguard service across our region’s coast, allowing thousands of people to enjoy their time at the beach with friends and family.

We are now looking to those people to help us raise the money needed to train our lifeguards in casualty care and lifesaving techniques.

If you were helped by one of our lifeguards this summer, or if you simply want to make a kind donation, please visit our JustGiving page.’

To donate to the RNLI’s South West Lifeguard Appeal, please visit: https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/SW-Lifeguard-Appeal-2021

To find out more information on how to become a RNLI lifeguard and where to apply visit: https://summerjobs.rnli.org/become-a-lifeguard

Notes to editors

· Please find attached images (credit: RNLI) -

1. Somerset RNLI lifeguard team for 2021 season

2. Somerset RNLI lifeguards at Burnham-on-Sea beach

· To support the RNLI’s lifeguard appeal visit: https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/SW-Lifeguard-Appeal-2021

· 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 c_fitzpatrick-smith@rnli.org.uk 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 pressoffice@rnli.org.uk.

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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.

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Somerset RNLI lifeguards at Burnham-on-Sea

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.

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Contacting the RNLI - public enquiries

Members of the public may contact the RNLI on 0300 300 9990 (UK) or 1800 991802 (Ireland) or by email.