RNLI Lifeguards Expect Busy Summer
The RNLI's lifeguards had their busiest season ever last year and, with summer holidays approaching, they're urging beach-goers to make safety a priority.
The charity's rescue figures show last year RNLI lifeguards saved 123 lives on some of the UK's busiest beaches after responding to over 13,000 incidents (13,591) and helping nearly 16,000 (15,957) people in difficulty.
The RNLI's volunteer lifeboat crews were also very busy, launching to 893 beach-related incidents, rescuing 570 people and saving 56 lives in the process.
Overall the average number of lifeguard incidents per beach increased by 10% on the previous year, while beach-related lifeboat launches went up by 12%.
Worryingly, of all the people RNLI lifeguards helped in 2009, nearly two-thirds (63%) were children, while body-boarding (22%), swimming (18%) and surfing (13%) were the top three activities requiring lifeguard assistance.
- Wherever possible, always swim at a lifeguarded beach. Go to www.goodbeachguide.co.uk to search for listings throughout the UK and ROI.
- Always read and obey the safety signs, usually found at the entrance to the beach. These will help you avoid potential hazards on the beach and identify the safest areas for swimming.
- When on a lifeguarded beach, find the red and yellow flags and always swim or bodyboard between them - this area is patrolled by lifeguards.
- Never swim alone.
- If you get into trouble stick your hand in the air and shout for help.
- If you see someone in difficulty, never attempt a rescue. Tell a lifeguard, or, if you can't see a lifeguard, call 999 or 112 and ask for the Coastguard.