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Making Southsea safer: RNLI lifeguards & lifeboat train together

Lifeguards News Release

On Wednesday 25 July RNLI lifeguards at Southsea beach hosted neighbouring Portsmouth lifeboat station for an evening of joint training exercises and demonstrations.

RNLI/Taylor Johnson

This annual drill which takes place near the start of each season allows the rescue services to combine their skill sets to be best prepared, should an emergency require them to operate together.

Lifeguard Supervisor Kester Sheppard said: ‘Having a working understanding of our lifeboat and lifeguard equipment and capabilities means we can offer the best care to anyone who finds themselves in trouble in the water. For example, if the lifeboat were to rescue someone from the water they could hand the casualty over at any one of our Lifeguard Units so the casualty could receive treatment as soon as possible.’

The red and yellow clad lifeguards explained the technology behind their rescue boards and tubes before tasking the lifeboat crew to locate relevant equipment from their first aid bag.

It was then over to the lifeboat crew to familiarise the lifeguards with their Atlantic 85 and D Class lifeboats and demonstrate how to pick up and bring a casualty on board safely and efficiently while at sea.

After wading into the water to enact these casualty pick-ups, the teams ran a scenario of someone in the water with a spinal injury. Kester Sheppard explained: ‘It takes up to 5 people to lift a casualty safely if they're suffering from a spinal injury.’

Senior Lifeguard Kim Dugan, who splits her dedication to the RNLI between guarding the beaches and volunteering as a member of the lifeboat crew, said: ‘I am thankful to have such a good relationship with the team of lifeguards and the local lifeboat station; our motivations are equally to save lives at sea and educate people around water safety. However, our methods are sometimes different, so training sessions like this are invaluable. We have learnt a lot from each other this evening.’

RNLI/Taylor Johnson

Lifeguards discuss the procedure for someone suffering a spinal cord injury

RNLI/Taylor Johnson

Portsmouth lifeboat station explain the logistics behind a rescue

RNLI/Taylor Johnson

Lifeguards act as casualties whilst the crew demonstrate pick ups

RNLI/Taylor Johnson

The team discuss what they've learnt as the evening draws to a close

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, Carrybridge 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.

Learn more about the RNLI

For more information please visit the RNLI website or Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. News releases, videos and photos are available on the News Centre.

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