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  1. ITV Report

No RNLI lifeguards to be on beaches this Bank Holiday or over half term due to Covid-19 crisis

Due to government measures there will not be lifeguards present on beaches in the West Country.

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) has announced there will be no lifeguard cover on any beaches over the bank holiday or half term.

The news comes as a result of Government measures to control the spread of coronavirus.

However, the charity says it is working towards having lifeguards patrolling around 70 beaches during the peak summer season.

This will become a rarer sight on beaches across the region this summer. Credit: Nathan Williams/ RNL

Due to the easing of lockdown restrictions and good weather, it is expected that many people will head for day trips to the coast and beaches.

As a result, the RNLI and HM Coastguard are urging people to follow vital safety advice to help save lives in the absence of lifeguard patrols.

These include:

  • 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 use inflatables
  • Don’t allow your family to swim alone
  • If you get into difficulties or fall into the water unexpectedly, FLOAT TO LIVE: fight your instinct to thrash around, lean back, extend your arms and legs, and try to float to regain your composure before signalling for help or swimming to safety
  • In an emergency dial 999 and ask for the Coastguard

The RNLI's lead for water safety in the South West, Steve Instance has said this weekend’s weather could be a "recipe for disaster".

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RNLI volunteer lifeboat crews and HM Coastguard are still on call ready to respond to emergencies.

But to reduce the demand on them and other emergency services, authorities are calling on the public to be ‘beach smart’, taking responsibility for themselves and their loved ones.

Despite the ongoing challenges posed by coronavirus and social distancing the RNLI still hopes to provide a lifeguard service on around 30% of the beaches the charity usually covers in time for the traditional peak summer season.