A new team of lifeguards have begun vital training in preparation to keep people safe on beaches across the Easter holidays.
Despite the challenges of lockdown to recruit, the RNLI and partners have started training and preparing their lifeguards for what is expected to be another busy summer on beaches across the south west.
On Monday 22 March, the new cohort took to Porthminster Beach to start the intensive training in preparedness for Easter.
RNLI lifeguards will begin patrolling 22 beaches across Cornwall, Devon, Dorset and the Channel Islands from Good Friday (2 April) covering the Easter holidays - and for the first time this will include Exmouth in Devon and Weymouth in Dorset.
The number of beaches will increase through the season until the peak school summer holidays when 87 beaches across the region will be patrolled.
In 2020, RNLI lifeguards covering the south west saved 56 lives, aided 9,179 people and responded to 6,287 incidents which included water rescues, minor first aid and helping to reunite missing children with their families.
Ollie Shilston, RNLI Lead Lifeguard Supervisor, said: ‘’We’re expecting a really busy year, we’re really lucky that we’ve got really experienced lifeguards coming back to the service this year and they’re going to be instrumental in us delivering a full service.
‘’We’ve had to make a few changes in how we train people, we are training in small bubbles, we’re doing a lot of outdoor training on the beaches in the water, getting ready to go for April 2.’’
The RNLI are encouraging the public to follow government advice on social distancing, travel and contact with others when visiting the beach to keep themselves and our lifeguards safe.
Visit a lifeguarded beach and swim between the red and yellow flags – findyour nearest at rnli.org.uk/lifeguardedbeaches
Check the weather forecast, tide times and read local hazard signage tounderstand local risks
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.