RNLI summer lifeguard patrols return to Exmouth beach on Saturday, June 20, as the charity rolls out it service after the easing of the coronavirus lockdown.
The sea safety charity hopes to have lifeguards on around 170 beaches in the UK by early July – 70 per cent of the beaches it would patrol in a normal summer.
In the South West the RNLI hopes to have a presence on around 65 beaches by early July – 72 per cent of the usual number of beaches that would be patrolled.
New measures to deal with the coronavirus mean the RNLI lifeguard service will look a little different this year, the charity said.
Lifeguards will wear PPE like ambulance crews in some situations. New protocols for all first responders mean the lifeguards may not deal with some minor first aid cases but will support people to treat themselves.
They will also try to keep socially distant from beach goers, and may need to adopt different patrol methods at times, such as not using the red and yellow flags and asking people to keep apart but close to shore, to help keep people safe while maintaining social distancing.
Mark Dowie, RNLI chief executive, said: ‘We are now confident we can provide a more comprehensive lifeguard service this summer safely, despite the continuing challenges created by the pandemic.
“The first few weeks having lifeguards back on beaches has helped us properly test the new ways of operating and reassured everyone that we can accelerate and expand our plans.
“Our original plan to lifeguard seventy beaches this summer was a conservative one, made when many things were still unknown.
“Now, though, we have a better idea of the journey out of lockdown for all parts of the UK, understand the new regulations with which we must comply as an employer and service provider and, most importantly, feel we can properly manage the risks associated with coronavirus.
“So, we are revising our plans and adding to the number of beaches we can lifeguard this summer.”
As of Saturday, June 20, lifeguard patrols will start at the following beaches in Devon and Cornwall: Exmouth, Bantham, Sedgewell Cove, Tregonhawke, Sharrow, Portreath, Chapel Porth, Holywell Bay, Treyarnon, Harlyn, Trebarwith, and Crooklets.
It brings the total number of beaches with lifeguards across the South West to 34.
There are 22 beaches throughout the region already with an RNLI lifeguard service.
An RNLI spokesperson said: “The RNLI is continuing to talk to its fifty five partner local authorities and beach owners about which additional beaches might be lifeguarded this summer, seeking to align with the proposed early July lifting of restrictions on the tourism and hospitality industries.
“The RNLI will announce this information as soon as possible.”
South West beaches already with RNLI lifeguard patrols are Constantine, Fistral, Gwithian, Hayle Towans, Mawgan Porth, Perranporth, Poldhu, Porthmeor, Porthtowan, Polzeath, Praa Sands, Sennen, Summerleaze, Watergate Bay, and Widemouth, all in Cornwall. Croyde and Woolacombe, in North Devon, and St Ouens, St Brelades, Plêmont and Greve de Lecq, in Jersey.
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