RNLI lifeguards are patrolling these Thanet beaches for the Summer

RNLI lifeguards

Lifeguards trained by the Royal National Lifeboat Institution, the charity that saves lives at sea, have returned to Thanet beaches for the summer season.

The RNLI lifeguards, who are taught a variety of life-saving techniques and advanced first aid skills, will be providing a vital service on the county’s beaches until Sunday 3 September.

Which beaches?

Photo Carole Adams

Beaches at Botany Bay, Joss Bay, Broadstairs (Viking Bay) and Margate (main sands), will have a full-time lifeguard service, provided by the RNLI, seven days a week (10am – 6pm) from Saturday 27 May to Sunday 3 September.

Ramsgate (main sands), Stone Bay, Westbrook, St Mildreds, West Bay and Minnis Bay beaches in Thanet will have lifeguards in place at weekends and bank holidays from Saturday 27 May to Friday 7 July (10am – 6pm) and then for the peak season the lifeguards will be on the beaches seven days a week from Saturday 8 July to Sunday 3 September (10am – 6pm).

Photo Brian Whitehead

Clad in their distinctive red and yellow uniforms, the lifeguards, who receive world class training and equipment, began patrols at 12 of the county’s most popular beaches last weekend. (27 May).

‘Intensive training’

RNLI Area Lifesaving Manager James Uren said: “Our lifeguards have undergone intensive training to ensure people enjoying the county’s beaches this summer stay as safe as possible,’ ‘They have a detailed knowledge of the local risks and hazards at each of the beaches they patrol and the RNLI provides them with a variety of rescue equipment which is suited to the particular conditions at each of our beaches.

Photo RNLI

“As well as all-terrain vehicles and rescue watercraft, the lifeguards are also equipped with rescue boards, which are based on a surfboard and are a lifeguard’s primary rescue tool. Most rescues are carried out within 100 metres of the shore and this can be the quickest way to respond in most conditions.”

Extra equipment

Lifeguards are kitted out with rescue tubes which can be wrapped around a casualty and are particularly useful for conditions close to rocks and man-made structures such as cliffs and piers. RNLI lifeguards also carry casualty care bags enabling them to respond quickly and effectively to a wide range of illnesses and injuries which can occur on the beach.

This kit allows them to act as First Responders for the South East Coast Ambulance Service (SECAMB).

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.