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Three drownings in three years prompts lifeguard service at beach

A Gower beach which has seen a number of drownings is to finally get lifeguards after an agreement was reached with the coast's owners.

Three Cliffs Bay, Gower has seen three drownings in three years. Credit: PA

Last year two people drowned at Three Cliffs Bay and a community action group was set-up to reduce incidents and improve safety.

The RNLI, landowners and the National Trust have now agreed to introduce lifeguards on patrol for the first time, starting this Good Friday.

The beach attracts tens of thousands of visitors a year.

Benny Collins and his wife Beth. Credit: Mel Collins

Last July emergency services were called to the beach when Benny Collins got into difficulties.

Mr Collins a physiotherapist at Morriston Hospital, Swansea was at the beach with his nine-year-old son, Harry.

The 40 year-old was taken by air ambulance to the hospital where he worked but later died.

His wife Mel Collins, a senior nurse at the same hospital said in a statement at the time she was "overwhelmed by the kind words and expressions of sympathy and would like to thank everybody for their support."

The RNLI training at Three Cliffs Bay Credit: Polly Thomas/Athena Pictures

Since the drownings in 2015 the community launched an action plan.

The picturesque beach is becoming more and more popular and the RNLI lifeguard service will run alongside a wider safety campaign developed by the community partnership.

The campaign has the support of the family of Benny Collins.

Three lives have been lost in three years at Three Cliffs Bay and we hope that better awareness of rip currents and cold water shock dangers will minimise future loss of lives - including those of young, strong, and able swimmers - people who may be unaware of the risks of rip currents and cold water shock.

Benny was a strong rugby player, physically very fit and an able swimmer and yet did not escape tragedy in the Three Cliffs' waters.

We strongly support education in the community - through schools and community events. We also strongly support clear and effective signage in and leading into key danger areas.

Lastly, while we would not encourage people to swim at Three Cliffs Bay, we encourage people to only ever consider going into the water if lifeguards are present and only in designated areas.

– Family of Benny Collins

Lifeguard timetable:

  • Lifeguards will provide a daily safety service from 10am to 6pm during the Easter schoolholidays between 25 March and 10 April
  • then at Whitsun between 28 May and 5 June
  • and for the peak summer season between 2 July and 4 September
  • Lifeguards will also be on duty between 10am and 6pm on weekends and Bank Holidays between 30 April and 28 May and 5 June and 2 July
The RNLI team at Three Cliffs Bay. Credit: Polly Thomas/Athena Pictures

Stuart Thompson, RNLI Lifeguard Manager, said a designated swimming area will be set up with red and yellow flags where people can enter the water under the supervision.

The sea conditions at Three Cliffs Bay can be dangerously unpredictable so people visiting the beach should seek advice from lifeguards, only swim during lifeguarded hours and always swim between the red and yellow flags.

– Stuart Thompson, RNLI