Lifeguards set to return to popular beach
PUBLISHED: 12:44 17 June 2020 | UPDATED: 12:44 17 June 2020
Lifeguards are set to return to Lowestoft’s South beach this weekend, as the RNLI continues to step up its lifesaving service across the region.
Since lockdown restrictions were eased last month, the RNLI has been working to roll out lifeguard patrols on 47 beaches in England, Northern Ireland and the Channel Islands, including nearby Gorleston.
Now these beaches are operational, and new ways of working and equipment have been properly put to the test, the RNLI is increasing the number of beaches which will have a lifeguard service.
RNLI chief executive, Mark Dowie, said: “We are now confident we can provide a more comprehensive lifeguard service this summer safely, despite the continuing challenges created by the pandemic.
“Our original plan to lifeguard 70 beaches this summer was a conservative one, made when many things were still unknown.
“Now, though, we feel we can properly manage the risks associated with coronavirus. So, we are revising our plans and adding to the number of beaches we can lifeguard this summer.”
Lifeguards are already operating on more beaches than initially expected by this date, with up to 40 beaches due to have safety patrols this weekend – including at Lowestoft, bringing the total operational to more than 80.
Ahead of the lifeguards returning to Lowestoft this weekend, Letitia Smith, East Suffolk council’s cabinet member for communities, leisure and tourism, said: “We are pleased to see these patrols return to our beautiful beaches for the summer season, especially given the challenging circumstances.
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“Our beaches are some of the best in the country and we want people to be able to enjoy spending time at the beach whilst being mindful of their own safety and the safety of others.
“This includes keeping away from other people and using common sense when deciding which area of beach to visit.
“If it feels too crowded, it is too crowded and we would urge people to look for somewhere less congested instead.”
Mr Dowie added: “With schools closed and restrictions on foreign travel, we know that lots of people will be heading to UK beaches – this could be the busiest summer ever for both our lifeguards and our lifeboat crews.
“I’m very grateful to all those lifeguards who have already started their patrols or are now preparing to get back on the beach – they know this will be a challenging summer and are doing a brilliant job helping to keep the public safe during this pandemic.”
New measures to deal with the coronavirus means the RNLI lifeguard service will look a little different as lifeguards will wear PPE like ambulance crews in some situations.
New protocols for all first responders mean the lifeguards may not deal with some minor first aid cases but will support people to treat themselves.
They will also try to keep socially distant from beachgoers, and may need to adopt different patrol methods at times.
The charity is also continuing to urge anyone planning to visit the coast to make sure they keep themselves and their families safe by following beach safety advice.
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