RNLI hopes to provide lifeguard service on 70 beaches by peak season despite current coronavirus lockdown

The RNLI has announced it hopes to provide a lifeguard service over the summer on up to 30% of the beaches it usually covers - if government guidance allows it.

The rollout of the charity's normal seasonal lifeguard service ground to a halt in March when movement restrictions were introduced by the Government to curb the spread of coronavirus.

Since then the RNLI has been urging people to exercise caution when on our coasts, to stop any extra pressure on the lifeboat stations still in operation.

However dozens of people have still frequented the West Country's beaches, with surfers taking advantage of the recent spate of good weather despite continued warnings.

Surfers in the West Country have been ignoring RNLI advice to stay out of the water while the beaches are unmanned.

In anticipation that current, strict lockdown rules could be relaxed in the coming weeks, the RNLI has started to draft plans to put lifeguards back in place where possible.

The charity says the plan is to slowly increase the service in line with government regulations, and aim to have patrols reach 70 beaches by peak season - which will be chosen based on popularity and possible risk.

It also assures it will be aiming to man beaches as fairly as possible, covering a range of geographic areas while also being flexible enough to keep the service running.

RNLI Lifeboat stations are still operational, but the charity is urging the public not to put more pressure on them while other services are limited.

However bosses at the charity have warned movement restrictions are not the only factors which will see a delay in the service returning to full capacity.

Lockdown rules came into place at the time of year where hundreds of people would usually be undergoing training, ready to start patrolling beaches during peak season.

This, as well as the logistical effort of getting the appropriate equipment to RNLI beaches, contributes to the staggered staffing beach-goers should expect to see when lockdown lifts.

  • See below for a full statement from the RNLI: