RNLI lifeguards return to South Hams beaches

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RNLI lifeguards return to South Hams beaches

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RNLI lifeguards returned to the South Hams on Saturday, in time for the Easter holidays.

RNLI lifeguards returned to Bantham beach on Saturday and will be patrolling over the Easter break until Sunday, 24 April.

Bantham is one of 23 beaches across Devon, Cornwall, Dorset and the Channel Islands that the RNLI lifeguards are looking after during the holidays.

Daily patrols 10am-6pm will begin at Bantham on 30 April until 25 September, with weekends only between 1-16 October.

Other lifeguarded beaches in the South Hams have differing patrol times. At Bigbury-on-Sea, daily patrols 10am-6pm will take place between 9 July - 4 September; at Challaborough, daily patrols will be 10am-6pm 14 May until 25 September; at Hope Cove they will be daily 10am-6pm, 9 July - 4 September and at Sedgewell Cove they will be 10am-6pm, 30 April - 25 September.

For the last two weeks RNLI lifeguards have been busy with their pre-season inductions where they refresh their skills in casualty care, lifesaving techniques in and out of the water, water and land craft operations and fitness testing.

And as the season begins, RNLI figures reveal that in 2021, RNLI lifeguards covering the south west dealt with 11,216 incidents, aided 13,664 people and saved 57 lives. In comparison to 2019, the last full season unaffected by Covid restrictions, RNLI lifeguards dealt with 10,527 incidents, aided 13,069 people and saved 69 lives.

Guy Botterill, Regional RNLI Lifeguard Lead for Cornwall said: “In the year where travel restrictions were in place and the region was incredibly busy with tourism, official RNLI statistics show that our lifeguard teams dealt with more incidents and aided more people.

“The return of RNLI lifeguards for the Easter holidays is always a welcome sign and signals that summer is nearly upon us. Our teams across the south west have been working hard over the winter to ensure the beaches and lifeguard units are fully equipped and our lifeguards are trained to the highest standard.

“Pre-season preparations are well underway and our lifeguards are looking forward to getting back on the beaches and doing what they do best – offering preventative safety advice to visitors and rescuing those in difficulty in the water or on the beach itself.

“We’re hopeful for good weather but it’s important to remember that the water is usually at its coldest at this time of the year and therefore increasing the risk of cold water shock. Also, the winter weather may have altered the conditions at your local beach, so it's important to familiarise yourself with any hazards.

“We'd urge people to head to one of our 23 RNLI lifeguarded beaches this Easter and speak to the lifeguards to find out the local risks, tides and weather conditions. Be prepared for whatever water activity you have planned, and always have a means of calling for help. We wish you a safe and happy Easter.”

The RNLI is urging anyone visiting the coast this summer to make sure they keep themselves and their families safe by following beach safety advice:

· Visit a lifeguarded beach and swim between the red and yellow flags.

· Check the weather forecast, tide times and read local hazard signage to understand local risks.

· Keep a close eye on your family – on the beach and in the water – don’t allow your family to swim alone.

· 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 999/112 and ask for the Coastguard.

If you are a local business near the coast you can help the RNLI share key water safety messages and save lives by becoming a local ambassador. As a local ambassador you can help be the eyes and ears in your community by helping the RNLI share important water safety messages with more people. To find out more visit: https://rnli.org/support-us/volunteer/volunteering-opportunities/rnli-local-ambassador

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