RNLI lifeguards return to daily patrols as peak summer season makes a start
RNLI lifeguards return to all beaches along the Causeway Coast and county Down this weekend as peak season begins bringing daily patrols from now until September.
The charity along with the Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council, the National Trust and Newry, Mourne and Down District Council have been preparing in recent months to get ready for another busy summer season.
From tomorrow, Saturday (24 June) to Sunday 3 September, lifeguards will be providing a daily patrol from 11am to 7pm on Downhill, Benone, Castlerock, Portrush East, Portrush West, Ballycastle and from 10am to 6pm on Portstewart Strand on the Causeway Coast, and from 10am to 6pm on Tyrella, Murlough and Cranfield beaches on the county Down coast.
Last summer RNLI lifeguards in Northern Ireland saved 13 lives, aided over 450 people and responded to over 300 incidents.
The RNLI works in partnership with Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council, the National Trust, and Newry, Mourne and Down District Council each year to set up and roll out a lifeguard service at their request. Setting up a lifeguard service each season for the Council involves several different elements including recruiting and training lifeguards and organising the logistics to deliver equipment and in some cases lifeguard units to each beach.
Before a lifeguard sets foot on a beach, they take part in months of training. From a rigorous fitness test to learning vital casualty care skills, it takes a lot of hard work, dedication and commitment in order to save lives at the beach.
As well as rescuing those in trouble in the water, RNLI lifeguards have to deal with multiple lost children, minor first aids including cuts and stings, major first aids including fractures and critical illnesses and provide safety advice to beach goers to ensure they enjoyed their day at the beach as safely as possible.
Karl O’Neill, RNLI Lead Lifeguard Supervisor said; ‘We are all very excited and looking forward to this summer season. We’ve had a great few weeks of training to get all of our lifeguards ready to get out on the beaches and we are now looking forward to offering beach safety advice to visitors and to putting our skills and training into practice over the summer period as and when we are needed.
‘We would urge anyone visiting the coast this summer to make sure they keep themselves and their families safe by following our beach safety advice.’
To do that:
· 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.
· For activities like paddleboarding or kayaking we recommend you wear a wetsuit, buoyancy aid or lifejacket and carry a means of calling for help in a waterproof pouch and keep it on you. Tell someone what you are doing, where you are going and when you expect to return.
· If you are going open water swimming, use a wetsuit to keep you warm, wear a bright coloured swim hat and take a tow float to store personal items including a phone for emergencies
· 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.
Find your nearest lifeguarded beach at rnli.org/find-my-nearest/lifeguarded-beaches.
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.
Learn more about the RNLI
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