The Royal National Lifeboat Institution will launch its ‘gold standard’ lifeguard service at Hastings this weekend – the first time in history the charity has provided lifeguards for the town’s beaches.
For the peak summer season an additional two beaches in Hastings will be covered by RNLI lifeguards. Pelham West will see a seven day a week service (10am – 6pm) from Saturday 8 July – Sunday 3 September, as will Marina St Leonards Beach.
RNLI lifeguards receive world class training and equipment, are taught a variety of life-saving techniques and have advanced first aid skills and a detailed knowledge of the local risks and hazards at each of the beaches they patrol.
The Hastings lifeguards, clad in their distinctive red and yellow uniforms, will use a range of life-saving equipment including rescue boards and rescue tubes. They will also be on hand to offer advice on how to stay safe in the water.
‘Our lifeguards are highly skilled and undergo a rigorous programme of training so they are ready to help prevent incidents and to respond rapidly if people get into difficulty in the water,’ said Allen Head, RNLI Area Lifesaving Manager.
‘A key part of their work is prevention, so they will be asking people to respect the water and will be offering advice on how to stay safe by learning about currents, tides and other local dangers,’ he added.
Hastings Borough Council spokesman Kevin Boorman said: ‘We are very pleased to be working in partnership with the RNLI here in Hastings as they provide the ‘gold standard’ in beach lifeguarding. This is for a one-season trial initially and we look forward to seeing the results of this pilot at the end of the summer.’
The previous service run by Hastings Borough Council was supported by the Hastings and St Leonards Voluntary Lifeguard Club and the RNLI is hoping to work closely with the club in the future.
The roll-out of RNLI lifeguards at Hastings is part of a wider initiative by the RNLI to provide lifeguards in East Sussex. Earlier this month lifeguards began patrolling at Camber Sands Central Beach and will also be offering the service for the peak summer season at Camber Sands West and Bexhill-on-Sea beaches.
In 2016, RNLI lifeguards on 227 beaches around the UK dealt with 17,414 incidents and helped 20,538 people. Incidents ranged from slips, trips and stings to more serious water rescues. In total they saved 127 lives.