Summer has passed but dangers of the sea are ever-present say RNLI lifeguards

Lifeguards News Release

Although the huge crowds have gone and the buzz of summer is over, Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) lifeguards are reminding people to stay vigilant and head to a lifeguarded beach if going in the water.

Max Tilden/Himaxphoto

RNLI lifeguard patrolling the water on a rescue water-craft in the surf

Having tirelessly watched over hundreds of thousands of visitors, RNLI lifeguards have spent their summer keeping people safe. Now, as the lifesaving charity use a staggered approach to withdraw the service from beaches, lifeguards are urging people to follow the same advice that kept them safe throughout the summer.

Charlie Gillett, RNLI Lifeguard Supervisors in Whitsand Bay area of Cornwall says,

‘We have started the process of ending lifeguard patrols on certain beaches using staggered closures. These closures are decided on several factors including visitor numbers, incident statistics and local hazards.

Many beaches across the region will continue a service over the next few months and up until the end of October. Just as we did throughout summer, we urge anyone planning on going in the water to always visit a lifeguarded beach and swim between the red and yellow flags.

As we move into autumn, we tend to see an increase in swell, which means bigger more consistent surf conditions. Surfing is a great way to have fun, stay fit and enjoy the best of what the south west has to offer, but bigger waves increase the power of rip currents.’

Last week, RNLI lifeguards at Tregonhawke responded to five separate incidents at neighbouring beach Tregantle, including the rescue of a group of four young females who’d gotten into difficulty in a rip current and were being pulled out of their depth.

Charlie continued saying,

‘Tregantle now only has lifeguard cover on the weekends, so we urge people visiting during the week to come to neighbouring Tregonhawke which is still operating a daily lifeguard service.

Our lifeguards deal with rip currents on a daily basis and are always ready to respond if anyone gets in trouble in the water. That’s why it’s so important to choose a lifeguarded beach and enter the water between the flagged zones where the lifeguards can see you.

Be vigilant and don’t push beyond your limits as that’s when you can get into trouble. Don’t go in the water alone and never enter the water if the lifeguards are flying the red flag, which means dangerous conditions.

If you take appropriate caution and follow safety advice, this time of year can be some of the best with warmer sea temperatures, less crowds and lots of waves to enjoy.’

A rip is a strong current running out to sea, which can quickly drag people out to deeper water. Even the most experienced beachgoers can be caught out by rips. 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.

· Keep hold of your floatation device such as a bodyboard or surfboard. · 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.

With record numbers visiting the region this summer the beaches have been busier than ever. The charity has recently launched the RNLI South West Lifeguard Appeal with the aim of raising the vital funds needed to train the lifeguards to carry out their lifesaving work.

To make a donation to the RNLI’s South West Lifeguard Appeal, please visit:

For more safety advice when planning your trip to the beach please visit:

Notes to editors

· Please find attached an image of RNLI lifeguard patrolling the water on a rescue water-craft in the surf (credit: Max Tilden/Himaxphoto)

· To support the RNLI’s lifeguard appeal visit:

· Follow the link to see which beaches are currently lifeguarded

· To support the RNLI’s lifesavers, go to:

RNLI media contacts

For more information please contact Claire Fitzpatrick-Smith, Media Engagement Placement (south west) at [email protected], or Amy Caldwell, Regional Media Manager at [email protected]. Alternatively, please contact the RNLI Press Office at [email protected].

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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 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.