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An interview with RNLI lifeguards on Wells-next-the-sea beach

Lifeboats News Release

Ollie Holden, 19 and Harvey Riggott, 21 are two of the RNLI lifeguards on duty at Wells Beach.

Two lifeguards pictured in front of the RNLI lifeguard station with the quad bike behind them on Wells beach

RNLI/Adele Meakin

Ollie and Harvey on duty at Wells Beach

They are both students at university and working as RNLI lifeguards in the summer holidays. Ollie is studying Global sustainable development and Harvey is doing a masters in Law Conversion.

Ollie is on his third year now of being an RNLI lifeguard and Harvey is in his second year. The RNLI lifeguards primary role is to make sure the beach can be enjoyed safely by the public. The charity's lifeguards are qualified in lifesaving and casualty care, this is a course taught on the beach and it covers injury, illness, immersion, as well as triage for when casualties outnumber Lifeguards.

It also helps them gain confidence using the equipment found in the lifeguard units. They are also required to maintain a level of fitness, which allows them to swim 200m in under three and a half minutes and run 200m on the beach in under forty seconds.

The team of five Lifeguards are keeping watch over Wells beach from June to early September, 10am to 6pm. Their aim is to prevent accidents before they happen – up to 95% of their work is preventative. They are trained in using a quad bike too, which enables them to monitor the beach and shoreline and access any incidents quickly. The beach at Wells can be dangerous, due to sandbanks. The fast flowing tide means that it comes in very quickly and cuts people off from the safety of the beach.

When asked what they found rewarding in their roles, Harvey said: ‘The public have a genuine interest in us’ and Ollie said: ‘Being a lifeguard is very good for improving people skills and dealing with the public.'

Lifeguards keep beachgoers safe by being alert and spotting the dangers to prevent accidents before they happen. Whilst talking to Ollie and Harvey, a member of the public came to the lifeguard unit for help. He had a nosebleed after being hit with a basketball. Ollie attended to the casualty in a quick and calm manner.

If you would like to know more about becoming a RNLI lifeguard, please follow the link

Notes to editors

The RNLI is the charity that saves lives at sea, 24 hours a day, every day. We are an independent charity, with no government funding. We rely on generous donations.

To find out more and to make a donation, please visit Every penny counts.

Volunteers are the lifeblood of our charity, 97% of our frontline lifesavers are volunteers.

Our vision is to save everyone.

The Wells RNLI lifeboats are a Shannon class all-weather lifeboat No.13-46, Duke of Edinburgh, new in 2023 and a D-class inshore lifeboat No. D-797 Peter Wilcox, in service from 2016.

Wells Lifeboat station is located on Beach Road, Wells-next-the-sea, Norfolk NR23 1DR

Tel 01328 710230. The shop is usually open Fridays to Mondays 10am to 4pm, solely run by volunteers and hours subject to change, due to staffing levels.

RNLI Media contacts

For more information, please contact Adele Meakin, volunteer deputy Lifeboat Press Officer: [email protected]

A photo of a pair of binoculars used by the lifeguards and the RNLI lifeguards emblem in the background and the beach and swimmers in the background

RNLI/Adele Meakin

The view from the Wells Lifeguards station.

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.