RNLI LIFEGUARDS set to begin their peak summer safety service this weekend are urging beach visitors in Ceredigion to think about their safety and ‘Respect the Water’.
From Saturday (July 1) lifeguards will start daily safety patrols on three more beaches – Borth, Clarach and Aberystwyth South – in good time for the summer school holidays.
RNLI lifeguards have been on duty on Llangrannog and New Quay beaches since May and Aberystwyth North, Tresaith and Aberporth since earlier this month, giving safety advice and assistance to beachgoers, including rescuing a teenage boy stranded on rocks at Llangrannog beach.
Now Michael Vincent, RNLI Lifeguard Supervisor, expects the start of peak season to usher in a busy period for his team.
He said: ‘This time of year always sees more people venturing to the coast and enjoying our beautiful beaches. We would encourage everyone planning a trip to the seaside to visit a lifeguarded beach and always swim between the red and yellow flags.
From Saturday the lifeguard service will be up to its full complement of eight Ceredigion beaches, with lifeguards on duty daily between 10am and 6pm until the end of the season on September 3.
The lifeguard service is provided in partnership with Ceredigion County Council. Councillor Gareth Lloyd, Cabinet Member with responsibility for tourism said: ‘If the recent fine weather continues for the rest of the summer, Ceredigion’s beaches are going to be extremely popular. I’m pleased that beach users will again this year be able to enjoy some of Ceredigion’s most popular bathing beaches in the safe hands of the RNLI lifeguard service and I urge everyone to take heed of any advice provided by the lifeguards.’
RNLI lifeguards will patrol 38 beaches across Wales in 2017. Lifeguards responded to 1,271 incidents in Wales last year and rescued or assisted 1,436 people.
The RNLI is currently running its Respect the Water drowning prevention campaign, which this year is focusing on one piece of key safety advice for anyone who finds themselves unexpectedly in cold water. Most people who die around the UK coast never expected to enter the water at all and the RNLI is urging anyone who falls into cold water to fight their instincts and remember one simple skill – floating – which could save lives from drowning.
Michael added: “We often rely on our instincts but our instinctive response to sudden immersion in cold water – gasping, thrashing and swimming hard – is potentially a killer. It increases the chances of water entering your lungs, increases the strain on your heart, cools the skin further and lets air escape from any clothing, which then reduces buoyancy.
“Although it’s counter-intuitive, the best immediate course of action in that situation is to fight your instinct and try to float or rest, just for a short time. The effects of cold water shock will pass quite quickly, within 60–90 seconds. Floating for this short time will let you regain control of your breathing and your survival chances will greatly increase.”
For more information and advice on all aspects of beach and coastal safety visit the RNLI’s Respect the Water campaign website at https://rnli.org/safety/respect-the-water