RNLI lifeguards return to North West beaches ahead of Easter holidays
RNLI lifeguards are preparing to return to their posts on eight of the North West’s most popular beaches to offer safety advice and assistance over the school Easter holidays.
Figures released today by the RNLI showed that the charity’s lifeguards assisted 17,978 people on North West beaches last summer. RNLI lifeguards responded to 1,550 incidents* in 2021, the majority being over the busy summer months as thousands of people headed to the coast to enjoy a day out at the seaside after lockdown.
Last summer over 20M people visited a lifeguarded beach**, the highest number recorded since the RNLI introduced lifeguard patrols in 2001. Across the UK and the Republic of Ireland, RNLI lifeguards aided more than 40,000 people in 2021, which is a 25% increase on the previous high back in 2018. The latest figures come as RNLI lifeguards train and prepare to return to beaches for the 2022 season.
This Saturday (9 April) RNLI lifeguards will return to their posts at West Kirby, Moreton, Harrison Drive, The Plateaux and New Brighton (Perch Rock). Daily safety patrols will be provided by the charity’s lifeguards between the hours of 10am-6pm over the school Easter holidays.
Every year RNLI lifeguards are involved in carrying out water rescues, administering casualty care, delivering water safety information and helping to reunite missing children with their families. Over the past few weeks they have been training and practicing their skills so that they are ready to face what the upcoming season brings.
The RNLI will carry out their usual lifeguard service this year across the UK and Channel Islands in its standard phased approach.
In the North West, RNLI lifeguards returned to their posts on Formby, Ainsdale, Southport last weekend (2 April) with further safety patrols introduced in the Wirral from Saturday 9 April ahead of the Easter holidays. RNLI lifeguards offer a daily safety service at Crosby beach throughout the year. The number of beaches will gradually increase throughout the season until the peak school summer holidays when ten beaches will be patrolled by the charity's lifeguards across the Wirral and Sefton.
Peter Rooney, RNLI Regional Lifeguard Lead, said:
‘RNLI lifeguards are at the forefront of the charity’s lifesaving work, as they keep beach visitors safe across the UK and Channel Islands. Last year’s figures show the importance of our lifeguards and what they do for the public, we are expecting coastal areas to be just as busy in the summer season ahead.
‘The RNLI has been working closely with partners and local communities to ensure the beaches and lifeguard units are ready and equipped, and that lifeguard training has been performed seamlessly.
‘Pre-season preparations have gone well and our lifeguards are looking forward to getting back on the beaches and doing what they do best; offering preventative safety advice to visitors and rescuing those in difficulty in the water or on the beach itself.
‘However, it is important to remember that our lifeguards can’t be everywhere. Our lifeguards will be supported by the charity’s 24/7 lifeboat service and water safety work, but we urge anyone visiting the coast to take responsibility for themselves and their family this summer.’
We have a number of patrolled beaches around the coast from the Easter holidays. Find your nearest at rnli.org/find-my-nearest/lifeguarded-beaches.
Chris Cousens, RNLI Regional Water Safety Lead, said:
‘Heading to coastal waters is a great way to have fun and stay active, especially during the summer months. But, weather conditions can change quickly and, if you’re not careful, you can easily get caught out.
‘It is important that anyone visiting the coast understands the hazards of the environment. It can be an unpredictable environment, particularly during early summer when the risk of cold water shock significantly increases, as air temperatures warm but water temperatures remain dangerously cold. We’d remind anyone entering the water to take extra care and avoid unnecessary risks as early season conditions are more challenging.
‘Taking basic precautions can greatly reduce the risk of getting into difficulty, and improve your chance of being found quickly should you need rescuing. With this in mind, we urge beach visitors to come dressed appropriately to ensure your visit is both safe and enjoyable. For activities like paddleboarding, we’d recommend you wear a wetsuit, as it will keep you warm in an emergency. Wearing an appropriate buoyancy aid or lifejacket is also vital, and carry a means of calling for help, such as a mobile phone in a waterproof pouch.’
The RNLI is urging anyone visiting the coast this summer 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.
· Check the weather forecast, tide times and read local hazard signage to understand local risks.
· Keep a close eye on your family – on the beach and in the water – don’t allow your family to swim alone.
· 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.
Notes to editors:
*Figures include Crosby beach where an RNLI lifeguard service is ran 365 days a year.
**Number of visitors to RNLI lifeguarded beaches across the UK and Northern Ireland.
- Photo of RNLI lifeguards. Credit: RNLI/Nigel Millard.
· RNLI lifeguard 2021 statistics
- 18, 180 incidents
- 112 lives saved
- 40, 762 people aided
- 25, 469 incident actions
- 3, 721, 079 preventative actions
- 20, 737, 057 beach visitors
· Interviews with RNLI lifeguards are available upon request.
RNLI media contacts
For more information please contact Eleri Roberts, RNLI Regional Media Officer on 07771 941390 or Eleri_Roberts@rnli.org.uk.
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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