RNLI lifeguards enhance efforts ahead of an influx of visitors for 150th Open
With a record-breaking 290,000 fans attending The 150th Open in St Andrews, the charity’s lifesavers are expecting a busy week on West Sands Beach.
Last year, the RNLI in Scotland saw 267,191 visitors on their eight lifeguarded beaches and expect that number to increase this summer, with the number of visitors to St Andrews set to exceed this in the week of The Open alone.
Unprecedented demand to attend this historic milestone for The Open led to more than 1.3 million applications in the ticket ballot and has resulted in the highest-ever number of general admission tickets being issued to fans.
With this in mind, the RNLI expect the beaches in St Andrews and the surrounding areas to be inundated with visitors and tourists from across the world, including those without tickets for the event.
Lachlan Edwards, Lead Lifeguard Supervisor, said: ‘We are expecting a massive influx of visitors to our two lifeguarded beaches in St Andrews during The Open and it is our responsibility to offer help and advice to beachgoers.
‘As a result, we have increased the lifeguard presence on West Sands for the duration of The Open to ensure that we can continue to keep people safe whilst enjoying our beautiful beaches.’
On Tuesday 12 July, 10 junior golfers from St Andrews Links Junior Golf Association (SALJGA) joined RNLI lifeguards on West Sands Beach ahead of The 150th Open to take part in a sea safety session. The youngsters had the opportunity to meet the charity’s lifeguards, learn about water safety and even try the RNLI’s ‘Float to Live’ message in the water for themselves.
Samantha Munro, SALJGA Coordinator at St Andrews Links Trust, said: ‘Ahead of The 150th Open at St Andrews, it was great to work with the RNLI to help keep our juniors safe on the beach and in the waters this summer. The group thoroughly enjoyed their time speaking with the RNLI lifeguards and learning how to stay safe when open water swimming.’
Recently, the RNLI and HM Coastguard launched a water safety campaign, urging everyone to remember that if you get into trouble in the water, Float to Live. To do this: lean back, using your arms and legs to stay afloat. Control your breathing, then call for help or swim to safety. In a coastal emergency, call 999 or 112 and ask for the Coastguard.
For further information on the water safety campaign visit: www.RNLI.org/FloatUK2022
A full list of RNLI lifeguarded beaches can be found here.
Notes to editors
· RNLI lifeguards will be on the following beaches across Scotland this summer: Silver Sands, Coldingham, St Andrews East Sands, St Andrews West Sands, Elie Harbour, Burntisland, Leven and Broughty Ferry.
· In a survey commissioned by the RNLI, 86% of the UK adult population (aged 16-64) expect to visit the UK coast or use the beach or sea between now and the end of September, this is up from 75% this time last year. 42% are expected to go three times or more.
RNLI media contacts
For more information please contact Natasha Bennett, RNLI Regional Media Officer (Scotland), on 07826900639 or [email protected] or Claire Thomson, Media Engagement Placement (Scotland), on 07929673286 or [email protected].
Alternatively, please contact the RNLI Press Office on 01202 336789 or [email protected].
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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