Keep safe on lifeguarded beaches

In the UK, you are 500 times less likely to drown at a beach patrolled by lifeguards than you are at a beach with no lifeguards.

In 2006, RNLI Lifeguards saved 63 lives, assisted more than ten thousand people and prevented over half a million people from getting into trouble in the first place.

RNLI research shows that 63 per cent of people visit the seaside in the UK at least once a year. Of these, 79 per cent said that while at the seaside they always spend time on the beach. This equates to over 21 million people visiting the beach each year. When asked what influences people to go to the beach, only 10 per cent considered safety at all.

Other research supports this, showing that safety does not even appear in the top 12 reasons to visit a beach. Parking, cleanliness and cafes were the most important factors when choosing a beach.

Steve Wills, RNLI’s Beach Safety Manager, explains the campaign: “The Beachwise campaign is there to encourage people to be ‘beach savvy’ and to swim at beaches patrolled by lifeguards. There are over 300 lifeguard-patrolled beaches around the coasts of the UK and Republic of Ireland and it’s something we hope people will consider when they plan their seaside trip, whether at home or on holiday.

“Many of the hazards in the sea are ‘invisible’ to the untrained eye, such as rip currents and off shore winds. Lifeguards look out for you in and out of the water. The majority of their work is preventative and they’re trained to spot hazards and warn you before you even enter the sea – and this year alone RNLI Lifeguards were put to the test with their busiest Easter on record, rescuing 56 people.”

Watch videos of the RNLI in action here.