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RNLI begins recruiting to put lifeguards on the beaches in Hastings for first time

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution, the RNLI, is putting a lifeguard service on the beaches in Hastings this summer, for the first time.

The lifeguards will be in place throughout the summer season with three lifeguard units on two of the area's most popular beaches - Pelham and Marina St Leonards. They'll be in place by July 8th at the latest.

The RNLI is recruiting for lifeguards in Hastings and also at two other beaches in East Sussex - at Bexhill and Camber Sands, where seven young men died last summer.

Rother District Council has now approved £50,000 for lifeguards, but has been criticised for previously rejecting an offer of a discounted service. The inquests into the deaths will take place at a later date.

Lifeguards will be places at beaches in Hastings, East Sussex Credit: PA Images

Successful lifeguard applicants will receive training in search and rescue, lifesaving and casualty care techniques. They'll also be training in using the latest lifesaving equipment including rescue boards, rescue tubes and defibrillators.

"I think working as a lifeguard has got to be one of the most rewarding jobs. Of course it’s incredible to be able to call the beach your office but far more importantly than that, you are there to make sure the public enjoy it in the safest possible way.

"But make no mistake. This is a demanding job requiring commitment, skill and a clear head. We want people with the courage, determination and the ability to draw on their training and make the right decision if someone’s life is in danger."

– Alison Head, RNLI
RNLI recruit for new lifeguards for Sussex beaches Credit: PA Images

Lifeguards have previously operated on beaches in the area, but that service was run by Hastings Borough Council and supported by Hastings and St Leonards Voluntary Lifeguard Club. The RNLI says it's hoping to continue to work closely with the Hastings and St Leonards Voluntary Lifeguard Club in the future.

"I am delighted that we agreed unanimously to work in partnership with the RNLI, who will provide our beach life guarding operation for this summer. The RNLI have an excellent reputation, and, I am sure, will do a fantastic job keeping our beaches safe."

– Cllr Colin Fitzgerald, Hastings Borough Council

In 2016 RNLI lifeguards on some 240 beaches dealt with 17,414 incidents and saved 127 lives.

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