RNLI Lifeguard service to pause immediately

Lifeguards News Release

The RNLI has made the decision to immediately pause the rollout of lifeguard patrols onto beaches

Following the Government’s instruction as of 23 March for people to stay at home and avoid gathering outdoors, the RNLI has made the decision to immediately pause the rollout of lifeguard patrols onto beaches. This is to ensure lifeguards adhere to the Government’s instructions to limit contact between people and encourage the public to do the same. Our lifeboat stations remain on service.

Lifeguards work and train in groups, which makes keeping the requirement to remain 2 metres apart difficult and the nature of their work with the public puts them – and beach visitors – at risk of close contact. Also, their usual activity includes encouraging people to visit patrolled beaches and swim in certain areas – this activity would go against the Government’s clear instruction for people to stay at home, maintain social distancing and not congregate in groups.

The lifeguard service at Crosby beach, which operates a 365-day-a-year service, will be suspended as of Wednesday 25 March. The rollout of RNLI lifeguards to 47 additional beaches that were due to start patrols this weekend and over the Easter period will be postponed until further notice.

This decision will affect approximately 390 trained lifeguards who were ready to patrol beaches in the next few weeks and we will be working with them to understand what this means for them. We hope that once the current situation changes, and government guidance allows, we will be able to re-establish the lifeguard service and employ those lifeguards onto the beaches but it is too early to know when that might be.

With the situation changing regularly, we will continue to review the rollout of lifeguard beaches as the season continues with the aim of restoring services when possible. In the meantime, we are working with beach owners to inform the public that lifeguards will not be patrolling and have the following safety advice:

  • Take care if walking near cliffs - know your route and your limitations
  • Check the weather forecast and tide times
  • If going afloat, carry a means for calling for help and always wear a lifejacket
  • 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 any coastal emergency dial 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard

ENDS

Notes to editor:

The lifeguard service at Crosby beach, which operates a 365-day-a-year service will be suspended as of Wednesday 25 March and 47 additional beaches that were due to start lifeguard patrols this weekend and over the Easter period will be postponed until further notice.

Due to open 28 March:
  • Devon – Bantham, Croyde and Woolacombe
  • Cornwall – Praa Sands, Sennen, Porthmeor, Hayle Towans, Gwithian, Porthtowan, Perranporth, Fistral, Towan, Watergate Bay, Mawgan Porth, Constantine, Harlyn, Polzeath, Widemouth and Summerleaze

Due to open 4 April:

  • Pembrokeshire (Whitesands)
  • Wirral (West Kirby, Moreton, Harrison Drive, The Plateaux, New Brighton)
  • Sefton (Formby, Ainsdale, Southport)
  • Bournemouth and Poole (Boscombe East, Bournemouth East, Bournemouth West, Sandbanks)
  • Jersey (Le Braye)
  • Swansea (1 beach, Three Cliffs)

Due to open 10 April:

  • Causeway Coast and Glens ( Benone Strand, Portrush West, Portrush West Harbour, Portrush East, Whiterocks, Portstewart Strand)
  • Rother (Camber Central)
  • Bridgend (Coney / Sandy Bay, Trecco Bay, Whitmore Bay)
  • Neath Port Talbot (Aberavon)
  • Swansea (Tenby South)

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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 over 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.

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