41 beaches across the south west will conclude RNLI lifeguard patrols for 2022

Lifeguards News Release

This Sunday (25 September) beaches across Cornwall, Devon, Dorset and Jersey will conclude their RNLI lifeguarding service for the 2022 season. Four beaches will continue patrols daily throughout October and 17 beaches will have weekend-only cover in October and every day during October half-term,

with the extended lifeguarding season drawing to a close on Sunday 30 October 2022.

During the peak summer season, RNLI lifeguards operate on around 90 beaches across the south west region. As we move into the autumn months, the RNLI continue to use a staggered approach to withdraw the lifeguard service based on a variety of factors including visitor numbers, previous incident statistics and local hazards.

· The beaches in Cornwall that will finish RNLI lifeguard patrols on Sunday (25 September) are:

Seaton, Sharrow, Tregantle, Plodhu, Kennack Sands, Gyllyngvase, Great Western, Tolcarne, Porth, Portreath, Chapel Porth, St. Agnes, Perran Sands, Holywell Bay, Godrevy, Gwithian South, Upton Towans, Beachview, Mexico Towans, Hayle, Porthminster, Gwenver, Porthcurno, Porthcothan, Treyarnon, Booby’s, Trevone, Trebarwith Strand, Black Rock, Crooklets and Sandymouth.

· The beaches in Devon are:

Sedgewell Cove, Challaborough, Westward Ho!, Sandymere and Exmouth.

· The beaches in Dorset are:

Weymouth and West Bay

· The beaches in Jersey are:

St. Oeun’s Bay, Watersplash and St. Brelade’s Bay.

RNLI lifeguards in the south west have had an extremely busy summer with huge visitor numbers descending on the region – Watergate Bay recorded over 22,000* people on one day alone during the August heatwave. As well as huge numbers on beaches, RNLI lifeguards have dealt with multiple mass rescues, lost children, major first aids and provided lots of safety advice to beach goers to ensure they enjoyed their day at the beach as safely as possible.

Henry Irvine, Regional Lifeguard Lead for the south west says:

‘Throughout the spring and summer months we always stress the importance of choosing a lifeguarded beach if you are planning a day out at the coast and although autumn is in the air, we are still urging anyone planning on entering the water to always go to a lifeguarded beach and swim between the red and yellow flags.

‘This time of year the water is at its warmest and we tend to see an increase in swell meaning bigger, more consistent waves, but this can also increase the frequency and power of rip currents, which are one of the biggest dangers in the sea.

An example of this was a recent rescue that Challaborough RNLI lifeguards (Jess Rendell and Ivan Burton) dealt with involving a swimmer who appeared to be struggling in large surf and a strong rip current.

Jess picked up a rescue board and paddled out to the casualty, closely followed by Ivan as he could see how challenging the sea conditions were becoming. It was approaching high tide and the waves were increasing to 5-6ft and short the intervals between the waves caused a messy, unpredictable sea state.

Ivan approached the casualty and lay him on the front of the rescue board and started to paddle to shore whilst being pushed in by the large swell. Suddenly, a huge set wave approached the pair and resulted in tipping the rescue board nose down and flipping both Ivan and the casualty head over heels and throwing them both off Ivan’s board.

Ivan quickly recovered, reset, and paddled towards the casualty who was treading water in between the waves. As Ivan approached the casualty, he held them next to the rescue board keeping his body in the water whilst the large waves carried them both closer to shore.

Once the casualty was waist-deep and comfortable, Ivan was able to wade through the water alongside him and safely exit the water.

Ivan and Jess later learned that the casualty is a regular and experienced open water swimmer and is familiar with Challaborough beach. However, on this occasion, the sheer strength of the water and unpredictable surging waves meant that even he wasn’t able to swim to safety without assistance from the lifeguards.

RNLI lifeguard supervisor, Luke Lane-Prokopiou, says:

‘This was a very difficult rescue in challenging sea conditions but both Ivan and Jess did an amazing job and worked well together. Unfortunately there was no escaping being thrown off the rescue board with a wave surging right behind Ivan and the casualty.

‘Ivan did brilliantly to recover the rescue board promptly and paddle back to the casualty as quickly as possible. Both lifeguards kept calm under pressure and supported each other in the water.’

With autumn fast approaching often bringing large swells and strong winds like the rescue above, it is so important to check which beaches are still lifeguarded and always choose to visit one of these if you are heading to the coast.

Henry adds:

‘If you choose a lifeguarded beach the lifeguards can advise on local hazards and continually assess the conditions throughout the day positioning red and yellow flags in the safest area to swim and black and white flags in the safest area to surf. If you ever see anyone in trouble in the water, alert the lifeguards or call 999 or 112 and ask for the Coastguard.

‘A number of beaches in the south west are still operating a lifeguard service until Sunday 30 October – you can find your nearest lifeguarded beach and all the information including season dates by visiting the RNLI website.’

Notes to editors

· Please find attached footage of a rescue that took place at Challaborough beach in September

· * Statistics from RNLI lifeguard’s daily log beach paperwork

· Beaches operational every day until Sunday 30 October: Fistral, Perranporth, Porthmeor, Sennen (all in Cornwall)

· Beaches operational at weekends throughout October and October half-term:
In Cornwall: Tregonhawke, Praa Sands, Crantock, Towan, Watergate Bay, Mawgan Porth, Porthtowan, Gwithian North, Constantine, Harlyn, Polzeath, Widemouth, Summerleaze.
In Devon: Bantham, Croyde, Woolacombe
In Jersey: Le Braye

· To find your nearest lifeguarded beach, please visit: https://rnli.org/find-my-nearest/lifeguarded-beaches

· To support the RNLI’s lifesavers, go to: www.rnli.org/donate

RNLI media contacts

For more information please contact Becky Bright, RNLI Media Engagement Placement (south west) on 07929 673281 or [email protected] or Amy Caldwell, Regional Media Manager on 07920 818807 or [email protected]. Alternatively, please contact the RNLI Press Office on 01202 336789 or [email protected].

Luke Lane-Prokopiou

Challaborough RNLI lifeguards

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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