Byline: RNLI lifeguards busy on the beach
RNLI lifeguards are now geared-up for the 2008 season. Full season starts today, 1 May, and the latest rescue statistics are a stark reminder to the public of the importance of being beach-wise.
More than 9,880 beach visitors were helped by RNLI lifeguards on UK beaches in 2007, the charity’s latest statistics have revealed. Last year alone, RNLI lifeguards responded to more than 8,200 incidents and saved 62 lives, prompting the charity to renew its calls for beach-goers to make safety a priority.
As part of its summer beach safety drive, the RNLI charity is urging beach-goers, wherever possible, to make safety paramount by choosing a lifeguarded beach and swimming between the red and yellow flags.
Despite last summer’s wet weather conditions, RNLI lifeguards were busy throughout the season, responding to incidents involving a range of water users including surfers, bodyboarders, swimmers and people using inflatables.
The RNLI’s Beach Safety Programmes Manager, Kelly Keating, says:
‘These statistics show that the RNLI’s 2008 beach safety initiative is as important as ever. Anyone using the sea could end up in difficulty. Not all dangers at the beach are visible – rip currents, offshore winds and tides are all hidden dangers that the public should be aware of, in particular those taking young children to the beach.
‘The RNLI always advises people to choose a lifeguarded beach if they plan to use the water. Naturally, people want to enjoy themselves at the beach and, by choosing a lifeguarded beach, they can be sure that fully trained lifeguards are on hand to help out should they or their families get into trouble.
‘Those who can’t make it to a lifeguarded beach should find out about their chosen beach before they go, read the safety signs to make themselves aware of the local hazards, and look out for public rescue equipment, like lifebuoys. Most importantly, if they see someone in trouble, call 999 or 112 and ask for the Coastguard – but should not enter the water themselves.’
Those wishing to identify their nearest lifeguarded beach can visit www.goodbeachguide.co.uk. Provided by the Marine Conservation Society, in partnership with the RNLI, the site provides comprehensive information on the safety provision and facilities at beaches around the UK and Republic of Ireland.
The RNLI’s guide to beach safety, On The Beach, is packed full of advice on how to stay safe at the beach. It is available free-of-charge by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 0800 328 0600. Copies will also be available from most RNLI lifeboat stations, RNLI lifeguard units, Tourist Information Centres, service stations, Little Chef restaurants and selected tourist attractions throughout the summer season.
RNLI lifeguards operated on 71 beaches across the UK in 2007 and are increasing their presence throughout 2008 to cover 87 beaches in the southwest, eight beaches in Norfolk and, for the first time, 12 beaches in Pembrokeshire, Wales.
Practical advice and tips on how to stay safe can be found at he RNLI’s website, www.rnli.org.uk/beachsafety.
Notes to editors
- A picture of an RNLI lifeguard is attached. Please credit RNLI.
- RNLI spokespeople are available for interview or comment. Please call RNLI public relations on the numbers listed below.
- RNLI lifeguards operate in three main seasons, which vary between beaches. Full season runs from 1 May to 30 September, Main season from 17 May to 21/30 September and Peak season from 5/12 July to 31 August.
- The RNLI is a registered charity, which exists to save lives at sea. It relies on voluntary contributions and legacies to ensure its lifeguards and volunteer crews have the very best training and equipment.
- The RNLI’s annual running costs are over £122M – approximately £335,000 per day.
RNLI media contacts
For more information, please contact Laura Fennimore, RNLI Public Relations Officer on 01202 663181, email email@example.com or call the RNLI press office on 01202 336789.
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