This Sunday (26 September) beaches across Devon, Cornwall and West Dorset will conclude their Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) lifeguard service, six beaches will continue patrols throughout October and 13 beaches will have weekend-only cover.
During the peak summer season, RNLI lifeguards operate on over 90 beaches across the south west region. The lifeguard service is put in place to reflect the large volume of people visiting the beach, giving the public a wide range of choice to always choose a lifeguarded beach.
As we move away from summer the charity use a staggered approach to withdraw the lifeguard service based on a variety of factors including visitor numbers, previous incident statistics and local hazards.
Although many beaches will finish operations at the end of the weekend, the charity’s lifeguard service will continue to run daily between 10am-6pm on six of the busiest beaches in the region, as well as weekend cover on 13 other beaches.
Oliver Shilston, RNLI Lifeguard Supervisor for the Penwith area of Cornwall says:
‘Throughout summer we always stress the importance of going to a lifeguarded beach and although summer is over, we would still urge anyone planning on entering the water to always choose a lifeguarded beach.
This time of year the water is at its warmest and we tend to see an increase in swell meaning bigger more consistent waves. But that can increase the frequency and power of rip currents, which are one of the biggest dangers in the sea.
If you choose a lifeguarded beach the lifeguards are always ready to respond in an emergency situation, should you need their help. If you ever see anyone in trouble in the water, alert the lifeguards or call 999 or 112 and ask for the Coastguard.
There are a few simple steps you can take to help keep your friends and family safe. Check the weather conditions and tide times before you leave, always read beach safety signage at the entrance to the beach and take time to understand the information and any local hazards. Never enter the water alone and keep an eye on each other. If you can, always visit a lifeguarded beach and swim between the red and yellow flags.
A number of beaches in the south west are running a lifeguard service until the end of October, you can find your nearest lifeguarded beach and all the information including season dates by visiting the RNLI website.’
To find your nearest lifeguarded beach visit: https://rnli.org/find-my-nearest/lifeguarded-beaches
To find out more information about rip currents and what to do if you find yourself caught in one visit: https://rnli.org/safety/know-the-risks/rip-currents
The charity has recently launched the RNLI South West Lifeguard Appeal with the aim of raising the funds needed to train the lifeguards to carry out their vital work. If you were helped by a RNLI lifeguard this summer, or if you simply want to make a kind donation to the RNLI’s South West Lifeguard Appeal, please visit: https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/SW-Lifeguard-Appeal-2021
The following six beaches in Devon and Cornwall will continue a full-time daily lifeguard service between 10am-6pm until Sunday 31 October:
The following 13 beaches in Cornwall and Devon will operate a weekend-only and daily October half-term (23 – 31 October) service:
· Watergate Bay
· Mawgan Porth
· Gwithian North
· Praa Sands
· Bantham (Devon)
The five beaches in Devon that will conclude their lifeguard service from Sunday (26 September) are:
· Westward Ho!
· Sedgewell Cove (Bigbury-on-Sea)
The 32 beaches in Cornwall that will conclude their lifeguard service from Sunday (26 September) are:
· Holywell Bay
· Perran Sands
· St Agnes
· Chapel Porth
· Black Rock
· Great Western
· Hayle Towans
· Mexico Towans
· Beach View
· Upton Towans
· Gwithian South
· Poldhu Cove