Visit an RNLI lifeguarded beach in Cornwall and Devon this October half term
The RNLI is maintaining lifeguard patrols on a selection of beaches in Cornwall and Devon over the half term period (Saturday 20 October to Sunday 28 October).
With more people enjoying the beach and the bigger surf conditions out of the peak summer season, as in previous years additional lifeguard cover is being provided at some of the more popular beaches in the region to help keep people visiting the coast this autumn safe.
The following beaches will have RNLI lifeguard cover during half term: Seaton, Praa Sands, Sennen Cove, Porthmeor, Gwithian, Porthtowan, Perranporth, Fistral, Towan, Watergate, Mawgan Porth, Harlyn, Constantine, Polzeath, Widemouth and Summerleaze in Cornwall, plus Woolacombe, Croyde and Bantham in Devon.
These beaches have also been patrolled during weekends in October and lifeguards have been kept busy dealing with a variety of incidents.
At the weekend (October 13-14) Newquay hosted the annual British Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS) Surfing Championships with hundreds of students taking to the surf over the weekend. With concerns about the volume of learner surfers in the large conditions on Saturday and Sunday, RNLI lifeguards decided to carry out roving patrols across five beaches, Towan to Porth, to help keep people safe. The additional patrols ran from noon until dark by four lifeguards and during this time the team carried out four rescues and seven first aids, as well as numerous assists. One of the rescues at Great Western beach can be seen here: https://www.rnlivideolibrary.org.uk/play/RNyrSkbV
Elsewhere RNLI lifeguards on patrol at Porthmeor on Sunday 7 October helped save the life of a lady after she suffered from a diabetic episode. Lifeguard Pete Geall was on patrol at the lifeguard truck when he was alerted by a member of the public that there was an unresponsive woman on the road behind the beach. Pete immediately responded and called for further assistance on the radio. Lifeguard Adam Bayfield grabbed the casualty care bag and ran to the scene while James Symons stayed in the lifeguard unit to maintain communications. The lifeguards assessed the condition of the woman, who was unresponsive, and began treating her while a land ambulance and Cornwall Air Ambulance also made their way to the scene.
The woman was treated by the critical care paramedic from the helicopter and taken to Treliske Hospital by land ambulance for further care.
A few days after the incident the woman went back to the lifeguards at Porthmeor to thank them. Virginia, from New York City, has diabetes and had suffered an insulin shock. She said: ‘I am in good shape but without the woman who got the lifeguard, the lifeguards, helicopter team and paramedics I would not be here today. The treatment and kindness I received far surpasses anything I have ever had in an emergency situation. From the bottom of my heart I thank all who were involved in bringing me back.’
Porthmeor lifeguards are on duty daily throughout October and were called into action later in the week on Wednesday (10 October) to an elderly lady who’d suffered a serious leg injury after being hit by a car in the Island car park. Lifeguards Tom Evans and Adam Bayfield responded with their crash bag and carried out emergency treatment to the woman, while lifeguard Philip Stevens kept the beach operational with the help of a volunteer. Police and paramedics arrived and the woman was airlifted to hospital for further care.
Ollie Shilston, RNLI lifeguard supervisor for the Hayle area, said: ‘We’ve been working hard to train up local people, such as surf school instructors, in casualty care and lifeguarding skills so they can assist people in the absence of lifeguards outside of our season. This is proving very successful, as one of our community lifesaving volunteers Simon Trebilcock helped to lifeguard the beach at Porthmeor while the RNLI lifeguards responded to the elderly lady who was in need of urgent treatment.
‘Elsewhere at Gwithian which hasn’t had weekday lifeguard cover, our volunteer Ian Gabbitas helped two people last week - a surfer who’d been hit on the head by his board, and a girl who suffered a suspected leg injury. On both occasions Ian was able to use the skills he’d learnt to treat the casualties initially before further emergency services arrived.
‘We’re pleased to be able to provide a lifeguard service on a number of beaches during half term and urge people to visit these beaches. Where there are no flags, there is no lifeguard service. Those who can’t make it to a lifeguarded beach can help keep themselves safe by taking note of the safety signage at the entrance to the beach, going with a friend or telling someone on the shore where they are going, at the same time always being aware of the conditions and their own capabilities in the water.’
The lifeguards will be on duty on the selected beaches between 10am and 6pm until the clocks go back on Sunday 28 October when the operational hours will be reduced to 10am-5pm for the last day of patrols.
Note to editors
- A number of photos are attached from the recent incidents at Porthmeor. Credit RNLI
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Key facts about the RNLI
The RNLI charity saves lives at sea. Its volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service around the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland coasts. The RNLI operates over 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and more than 240 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK and Channel Islands. The RNLI is independent of Coastguard and government and depends on voluntary donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824, its lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved over 142,700 lives.