Children from schools around the UK are preparing to hit the surf with RNLI lifeguards as they take part in a unique scheme, run by the RNLI charity, to teach surf safety skills and how to stay safe at the beach.
Throughout June, July and September, 2,000 students from 96 schools in Norfolk, Pembrokeshire, Sunderland, Cornwall, Devon and Dorset will be taking part in the RNLI’s unique Hit The Surf programme – developing their surf safety skills and learning important advice from the beach safety experts, RNLI lifeguards.
The programme is designed for children aged between eight and 12, and it combines theory and practical lessons about how to surf safely.
Each year, surfing and bodyboarding are the activities accounting for the greatest proportion of incidents on RNLI lifeguarded beaches. Last year, they accounted for 41 per cent of activity-related rescues carried out by RNLI lifeguards.
Dave Gorman, RNLI Divisional Beach Safety Manager, says:
‘Surfing and bodyboarding are very popular, particularly with children and young people. However, each year these two activities account for a vast proportion of the rescues carried out by the RNLI’s lifeguards, so it’s really important that children learn how to surf safely. With more people likely to be holidaying in the UK this year, we expect to see more people on the beaches and more young people hitting the surf. The RNLI’s Hit The Surf programme aims to equip children with the knowledge and skills to have fun but stay safe in the surf.
‘The sessions are run by highly-trained RNLI lifeguards. They include beach activities, surf skills advice and safety talks. The children learn about the role of a lifeguard, what the beach safety flags mean, and what to do if they find themselves in trouble in the water. This all means they are learning important safety lessons and having great fun at the same time.’
The programme outline for this year is as follows:
1 June – 5 June – Norfolk and Hayle
8 June – 12 June – Sunderland and Fistral
15 June – 19 June – Sunderland and Fistral
22 June – 26 June – Pembrokeshire and Hayle
29 June – 3 July – Pembrokeshire and Hayle
6 July – 10 July – Sandbanks
13 July – 16 July – Sandbanks
7 Sept – 11 Sept – Sandbanks and Hayle
14 Sept – 18 Sept – Sandbanks and Fistral
21 Sept – 25 Sept – Sandbanks and Fistral
28 Sept – 30 Sept – Sandbanks and Fistral
Since the programme started in 2005, more than 2,600 children from 120 schools have taken part. The scheme complements the RNLI charity’s summer beach safety campaign, which encourages all beach-goers to make safety a priority when visiting the seaside by choosing a lifeguarded beach.
Schools interested in participating in future Hit The Surf sessions should contact Dave Gorman, RNLI Divisional Beach Safety Manager on 07970 080806.
Notes to editors
- Photography and filming opportunities are available. Please contact RNLI PR on the number below to make arrangements.
- RNLI spokespeople are available for interview or comment. Please contact RNLI PR on the number below to make arrangements.
- A video of a Hit The Surf session can be seen on the RNLI’s YouTube site http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=40ciZok8JlY&feature=channel_page
- An image of a previous Hit The Surf session is attached. Please credit Mike Rushworth.
RNLI media contacts
For more information, please contact Laura Fennimore, RNLI Public Relations Officer on 01202 663181, email firstname.lastname@example.org or contact RNLI Public Relations on 01202 336789.