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  • Writer's pictureLove Ballymena

RNLI lifeguards return to Causeway Coast and County Down beaches for peak summer season

Lifeguard from behind on County Antrim beach

RNLI lifeguards are returning to their full-time regime patrolling a total of 11 beaches along the Causeway Coast and in County Down.


The charity along with the Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council, the National Trust and Newry, Mourne and Down District Council have been preparing in recent months to get ready for another busy summer season.

 

From this Saturday (29 June) to Sunday 1 September, lifeguards will be providing a daily patrol from 10am-6pm on Benone, Downhill, Castlerock, Portstewart Strand, Portrush West, Portrush East, Whiterocks and Ballycastle beaches on the Causeway Coast, and from 10am to 6pm on Tyrella, Murlough and Cranfield beaches on the County Down coast.



Last year, the RNLI lifeguards in Northern Ireland saved four lives, aided over 300 people, and responded to over 189 incidents and amassed a total of 225,159 preventative actions.



The RNLI works in partnership with Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council, the National Trust, and Newry, Mourne and Down District Council each year to set up and roll out a lifeguard service at their request. Setting up a lifeguard service each season for the Council involves several different elements including recruiting and training lifeguards and organising the logistics to deliver equipment and in some cases lifeguard units to each beach.

 

Before a lifeguard starts their duties on a beach, they undergo several months of training. This includes passing various tough fitness tests and learning essential first aid skills for casualty care. It requires significant effort, dedication, and commitment to be able to save lives at the beach.



In addition to rescuing people in the water, RNLI lifeguards manage lost children, provide minor first aid for cuts and stings, handle major first aid situations like fractures and critical illnesses, and offer safety advice to beachgoers to help them have a safe and enjoyable day at the beach.




 

Michael Thompson, RNLI Regional Lifeguard Lead said:


“We are all thrilled about beginning the summer season, our lifeguards have undergone excellent training over the past few weeks, preparing them for their duties on the beaches.

 

“We are eager to provide beach safety advice to visitors and applying our skills and training throughout the summer wherever necessary. We also want to remind the public that this is our first season in which all our lifeguard beaches both on the Causeway Coast and in county Down will be operating between 10am-6pm.”



The RNLI encourages everyone visiting the coast this summer to follow beach safety guidelines to ensure the safety of themselves and their families:

 

  • Visit a lifeguarded beach and swim between the red and yellow flags.

  • Check the weather forecast, tide times, and read local hazard signage to understand local risks.

  • For activities like paddleboarding or kayaking we recommend you wear a wetsuit, buoyancy aid or lifejacket and carry a means of calling for help in a waterproof pouch and keep it on you. Tell someone what you are doing, where you are going and when you expect to return.

  • If you are going open water swimming, use a wetsuit to keep you warm, wear a bright coloured swim hat and take a tow float to store personal items including a phone for emergencies.

  • If you fall into the water unexpectedly, FLOAT TO LIVE. Fight your instinct to thrash around, lean back, extend your arms and legs, and Float.

  • In an emergency dial 999 and ask for the Coastguard.



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