RNLI lifeguards set to return to beaches ahead of ‘busiest summer’

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution is asking visitors to #BeBeachSafe.

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution is asking visitors to #BeBeachSafe as RNLI lifeguards prepare to return to Suffolk beaches. Picture: Erik Woolcott/SeaGrown/RNLI - Credit: Erik Woolcott/SeaGrown/RNLI

Visitors to the coast are being urged to follow key safety advice this summer as RNLI lifeguards return to two beaches in Suffolk from this weekend.

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution is asking visitors to #BeBeachSafe as RNLI lifeguards provide a full-time lifesaving service from Saturday, May 1 at Lowestoft South and Southwold North beaches.

With further beaches to be on service in time for the peak school summer holidays, the charity is expecting beaches to be busier than ever with restrictions on foreign travel and the easing of domestic lockdown restrictions.

Water safety experts from the RNLI will co-ordinate their work closely with council and emergency service partners, identifying local risks and working together on interventions to create a safer environment along the county’s coast.

Nick Ayers, regional water safety lead, said: ‘RNLI lifeguards play a vital role in keeping beach visitors safe, and this year we’re fully staffed and ready to go on all our beaches.

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"But we can’t be everywhere, so will be supported by the charity’s 24/7 lifeboat service and our water safety staff and volunteers.

"We are working with local authorities and landowners, who ask us to provide a lifeguard service on their beaches, to make sure the environment for lifeguards to return to is safe.

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"Coastal areas provide a great opportunity to enjoy fresh air and open space but it is important to remember they can be unpredictable and dangerous environments, particularly during spring and early summer when the air temperature is warm but sea temperatures remain dangerously cold, increasing the risk of cold water shock.

"I’d remind anyone entering the water to take extra care and avoid unnecessary risks, as early season conditions are more challenging."

Steve Gallant, East Suffolk Council leader, added: "We know that more people will want to come to the coast as restrictions ease and the weather warms up.

"However, it is incredibly important that anyone who visits our fantastic beaches in Suffolk behaves in a safe and sensible way, following advice and guidance to ensure an enjoyable and trouble free trip."

The RNLI is urging anyone choosing to visit the coast to make sure they keep themselves and their families safe by following beach safety advice along with the government’s advice on travel and social distancing.

Find your nearest lifeguarded beach at rnli.org.uk/lifeguardedbeaches

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