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RNLI in the south west offers safety advice for October half term

Lifeguards News Release

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) is advising people to stay safe this October half term by visiting one of the 20 lifeguarded beaches in the south west.

RNLI/Sam Chamberlain

Lifeguard at Perranporth Beach, Cornwall

Between Saturday 21 October to Saturday 28 October, the following beaches will be patrolled every day from 10am to 6pm by RNLI lifeguards (Sunday 29 October will be 10am to 5pm due to the clocks going back):

Cornwall: Fistral, Perranporth, Porthmeor, Sennen, Tregonhawke, Praa Sands, Towan, Watergate Bay, Mawgan Porth, Porthtowan, Gwithian, Constantine, Harlyn, Polzeath, Widemouth and Summerleaze

Devon: Woolacombe, Croyde and Bantham

Jersey: Le Braye

As we approach the winter, the sea conditions become increasingly dangerous. Storms that hit the south west coastline cause big swell which heighten the risk for those going in the sea.

In partnership with local authorities and private beach owners, the RNLI is pleased to be able to provide lifeguard cover on a number of beaches later into the season, enabling people to enjoy the water safely in the autumn. The patrolled beaches are spread geographically around the south west coast, to enable people to choose a lifeguarded beach near to them.

Guy Botterill Regional Lifeguard Lead said:

‘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.

‘As we reach the October half term with patrols ending on the beaches next weekend, we urge people to make best use of the beaches which still have RNLI lifeguard patrols and choose to visit one of these.

‘The lifeguards on duty 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.’

You should never go to the beach alone. If you visit the beach outside of the lifeguards’ patrolling hours or visit a non-lifeguarded beach, you should make sure you’re with someone who is carrying a mobile phone so that you can call for help should you need it.

If you go in the sea and find yourself in a rip current, don’t fight against it. If you can stand, wade do not swim to shore. If you can’t touch the floor and have the energy, swim parallel to the shore until you are out of the current.

If you don’t have the strength to swim, preserve your energy by floating. The RNLI’s Float to Live advice is:

· Tilt your head back with ears submerged

· Relax and try to breathe normally

· Move your hands to help you stay afloat

· It’s okay if your legs sink, we all float differently

· Spread your arms and legs to improve stability

If you get into trouble or see anyone else in difficulty along the coast, call 999 or 112 and ask for the Coastguard.

Media Contacts

For more information please contact Anya Walton Media Engagement Placement [email protected] on 07890066217 or contact Emma Haines Regional Media Officer [email protected] on 07786668847

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

For more information please visit the RNLI website or Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. News releases, videos and photos are available on the News Centre.

Contacting the RNLI - public enquiries

Members of the public may contact the RNLI on 0300 300 9990 (UK) or 1800 991802 (Ireland) or by email.