RNLI lifeguards urge people to respect the water as daily beach patrols end

Lifeguards News Release

As RNLI lifeguards in Northern Ireland bring their seasonal daily cover to a close, the team who will continue a weekend patrol on selected beaches on the Causeway Coast from this Saturday to the end of September, are urging those planning a trip to the beach over the autumn and winter to keep safe.

An RNLI lifeguard

RNLI/Lifeguard

An RNLI lifeguard

A weekend patrol will operate on Benone, Portrush West Strand Blackrocks, Portrush East and Whiterocks from 11am-7pm and on Portstewart from 10am-6pm.

Michael Thompson, Regional Lifeguard Lead said: ‘Sunday saw the last of our daily patrols for this year after a busy summer season where people in their thousands flocked to our beaches. Lifeguards responded to a wide range of incidents and activities including rip currents, paddleboarders, body boarders, swimmers, jet-skiers, kayakers, surfers, paddlers and those on inflatables. Our lifeguards were involved in carrying out water rescues, administering casualty care, delivering water safety information, and helping to reunite missing children with their families.

‘While you will see our lifeguards on some beaches at weekends for the next three weeks, they won’t be there during the week, so it is important to understand the hazards of your environment and take the time to read safety signage on the beach or ask for some safety advice at one of the local surf shops before heading into the water.

‘While we can expect our beaches to be quieter, there will be people using the water for activities such as surfing and kitesurfing. In the absence of RNLI lifeguards during this period, we would encourage visitors while enjoying themselves, to be mindful that the water will be colder, and the sea can be dangerously unpredictable.’

Taking basic precautions, Michael continued, can greatly reduce the risk of getting into difficulty and improve one’s chance of being found quickly should they need rescuing. ‘With this in mind,’ he said, ‘we urge beach visitors to come dressed appropriately to ensure your visit is both safe and enjoyable. Before you head out, always check weather and tide times, let someone know where you are going and when you are due back, and carry a means of communication such as a mobile phone in a waterproof pouch. 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. If you get into difficulty or see someone else in trouble, please call 999 or 112 and ask for the Coastguard. People can also get advice at their local RNLI lifeboat station.’

Ends

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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