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Waveney: Lifeguards' wise words

PUBLISHED: 13:41 14 August 2009 | UPDATED: 11:31 06 July 2010

VISITORS and regulars to Lowestoft and Southwold's award-winning beaches have this week been urged to follow key safety messages.

When you go to the beach it's great to have fun with your friends and family on the sand and in the sea, but it is also important to adhere to information and advice to help keep yourself safe.

VISITORS and regulars to Lowestoft and Southwold's award-winning beaches have this week been urged to follow key safety messages.

When you go to the beach it's great to have fun with your friends and family on the sand and in the sea, but it is also important to adhere to information and advice to help keep yourself safe.

Teaming up with Waveney District Council, each week The Journal is urging visitors and towngoers, who attend the sun-drenched shores, to Stay Safe This Summer.

And reminding beachgoers about some of the key points of the campaign, this week's special messages comes from three of the town's beach lifeguards.

This week's message comes from the three newest members of the team - Matt Thomas, Nick Ayers and Lowestoft's first Polish beach lifeguard Marcin Jaworski.

The newcomers successfully completed their beach lifeguard course at the start of the season. Due to a long cold winter the sea was colder than usual, making the course a more difficult task than usual. Various trainers and assessors used by council have commented on the strength of the team this year.

All of the lifeguards undergo a yearly induction, which consists of two days of rescue techniques and procedures, a two-day update on the rescue ski and another day to qualify in cardio-pulmonary resuscitation and defibrillation. The lifeguards also train at least two to three times a week to maintain their fitness and hone their skills.

And this week, the newest recruits updated people on the operational use of the orange windsock.

Matt said: “In the current edition of Safety on British Beaches, the regulations state the use of the orange windsock means:

'Danger; no inflatables to be used on the water' and signifies the danger of using inflatables in windy or unsafe water conditions.

“The wind sock used to be used to indicate offshore winds,” he added. “However, sideshore winds can also be very dangerous. This is when the wind is blowing sideways. “Sideshore winds can blow inflatables into the groynes or pier,” he warned.

And stressing this point, Nick said: “If a lifeguard sounds an air-horn to attract your attention please do not think we are being bossy. We are there to advise bathers and do our best to keep them safe when swimming in the sea.

Echoing these sentiments, Marcin said: “Please take into consideration what the lifeguards tell you as we have current knowledge and wide experience of the local conditions and are here to help. Please remember if you do not take the lifeguards advice you are placing two lives in danger, because it is the duty of the lifeguard to rescue you.”

The beach safety advice is:

Ask a lifeguard for advice - they are there to help.

Do not swim or play near groynes and piers.

If you get into trouble in the water, raise your hand in the air and shout for help.

Keep sight of young children at all times.

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