The RNLI are beginning the first phase of its return to lifeguard servicewith patrols starting again on the Longsands beach in Tynemouth this Saturday (30th May).
It's after recent warm, sunny weather and the easing of some lockdown restrictions saw an increasing number of people heading to the coast.
They're urging the public to take care if they visit the coast this weekend.
Despite the challenges posed by coronavirus and social distancing, the RNLI say they hope to provide a lifeguard service on around 30% of the beaches the charity usually covers in time for the peak summer season.
The beaches to see RNLI patrols in time for summer are yet to be confirmed.
The lifeguard service will look a little different this year though.
Lifeguards will wear PPE similar to 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 treatthemselves.
They will also try to keep socially distant from beach goers, and may not use the red and yellow flags and asking people to keep apart but close to shore, to help keep people safe while maintaining social distancing.
As ever, the welfare of our staff and beach visitors along with our commitment to providing a responsible lifesaving service is the RNLI’s priority and so we have been working closely with North Tyneside Council to make sure that conditions are safe for our lifeguards to provide an effective service.
According to the RNLI, Tynemouth Longsands has been chosen as the first beach where lifeguards are returning to service following an extensive risk assessment process, taking in overall visitor numbers and the high number of lifeguard rescues and interventions on the beach in previous seasons.
“The health and safety of our residents is our main concern. We are pleased the lifeguard service will be returning to Longsands this weekend, but as the government guidance hasn’t changed, we would still encourage people to stay home wherever possible.
Tips for keeping safe at the beach
Have a plan - check the weather forecast, tide times and read local hazard signage
Keep a close eye on your family – on the beach and in the water
Don’t allow your family to swim alone
Don’t use inflatables
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 an emergency dial 999, and ask for the Coastguard