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RNLI lifeguards are ‘hitting the surf’ to bring beach safety to Northern Ireland

Lifeguards News Release

The RNLI lifeguards are hitting the surf again and bringing their popular beach safety programmes to school children and youth groups in Northern Ireland.

Hundreds of children have already been through the programmes and learned valuable and important advice to keep safe in the water and along the shore, in a fun and interactive way.

Last summer 345,027 people visited the ten RNLI lifeguarded beaches on the causeway coast and in county Down. Of these people 27,043 entered the water while 9,975 took part in surfing or other water leisure actives such as body boarding and kite surfing. The lifeguards responded to 182 incidents, coming to the aid of 218 people. As well as rescues carried out in the water lifeguards also dealt with falls, first aid and lost children.

The RNLI lifeguarding season has already begun on five beaches along the Causeway Coast and this cover will be extended for the peak summer season from Saturday 25 June through to Sunday 4 September.  In the run up to this and before schools break-up for the summer the RNLI is encouraging primary schools and youth groups to sign-up for its two beach safety education programmes.  The ‘Meet the Lifeguards’ and ‘Hit the Surf’ programmes teach young people the importance of beach safety in a fun and practical way.’

‘Meet the Lifeguards’ is an interactive session where RNLI lifeguards visit a school or youth group and teach the children key safety advice that they then put to use when they visit a beach with family and friends. The children learn what the different beach safety flags and signs mean, the safety of using inflatables, the dangers of tombstoning, sun safety and how to identify natural and man-made hazards in and around the water. They will also learn about body boarding and surfing safety and how to escape a rip current.  Information on tides and waves is also included in the session.  

Alternatively the ‘Hit the Surf’ programme offers a unique opportunity for school children or youth groups to get practical lessons in lifesaving and beach safety at one of the ten RNLI lifeguarded beaches located on the north coast and in Down or inland for the first time, on the shores of Lough Erne in Fermanagh. The session lasts two and a half hours and includes a lesson on staying safe at the beach and explains the role of the RNLI and its lifeguards. It is followed by a lifesaving lesson and learning surf based skills while building the children’s confidence in the sea. They will also learn about local hazards and the beach environment.

. The idea is that the children we educate on safety take that advice and share it with family and friends. They may well be our lifeguards in the very near future.’ Education and prevention are an important part of the RNLI’s work and ‘Meet the Lifeguards’ and ‘Hit the Surf’ help us as lifeguards to deliver important beach safety advice to young people that makes it interesting and relevant to them. The idea is that the children we educate on safety take that advice and share it with family and friends. They may well be our lifeguards in the very near future.’

For more information on how to book your school onto an RNLI education programme please contact RNLI Lifeguard Supervisor Jenny Thompson Tel: 07789924563 or email jenny_thompson@rnli.org.uk

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RNLI media contacts
For more information please contact Niamh Stephenson RNLI Public Relations Manager Tel: 00 353 87 1254 124 / 01 8900 460 email Niamh_Stephenson@rnli.org Nuala McAloon, RNLI Press Officer on 0876483547, email Nuala_McAloon@rnli.org.uk
 

Key facts about the RNLI

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution is the charity that saves lives at sea. Our volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service in the United Kingdom and Ireland from 238 lifeboat stations, including four along the River Thames and inland lifeboat stations at Loch Ness, Lough Derg, Enniskillen and Lough Ree. Additionally the RNLI has more than 1,000 lifeguards on over 240 beaches around the UK and operates a specialist flood rescue team, which can respond anywhere across the UK and Ireland when inland flooding puts lives at risk.

The RNLI relies on public donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. As a charity it is separate from, but works alongside, government-controlled and funded coastguard services. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824 our lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved at least 140,000 lives. Volunteers make up 95% of the charity, including 4,600 volunteer lifeboat crew members and 3,000 volunteer shore crew. Additionally, tens of thousands of other dedicated volunteers raise funds and awareness, give safety advice, and help in our museums, shops and offices.

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Contacting the RNLI - public enquiries

Members of the public may contact the RNLI on 0300 300 9990 or by email.

 

The RNLI is a charity registered in England and Wales (209603) and Scotland (SC037736). Charity number 20003326 in the Republic of Ireland