The Royal National Lifeboat Institution is to provide a lifeguard service on beaches in Hastings this summer, the first time in history the charity that saves lives at sea has done so.
Following an agreement with Hastings Borough Council, RNLI lifeguards will provide a service throughout the summer months, advising people on how to stay safe and rescuing people if they get into distress.
In addition to the RNLI’s traditional lifeboats, lifeguards help to provide a ring of safety around the coastline of the UK and Ireland.
There will be three lifeguard units in total, on two of the area’s most popular beaches. Two lifeguard units will be stationed at Pelham beach, and one will be at Marina St Leonards. Lifeguards will be in operation by July 8 at the latest.
The announcement means the RNLI is now actively recruiting for lifeguards for the season. Billed as ‘Britain’s best summer job’, RNLI lifeguards will receive world-class training in search and rescue, lifesaving and casualty care techniques, as well as boosting their CV’s with invaluable skills that will wow future employers.
Recruits will also be trained in using the latest lifesaving equipment including rescue boards, rescue tubes and defibrillators.
Allen Head, RNLI area lifesaving manager, said: “I think working as a lifeguard has got to be one of the most rewarding jobs. Of course it’s incredible to be able to call the beach your office but far more importantly than that, you are there to make sure the public enjoy it in the safest possible way.
“But make no mistake. This is a demanding job requiring commitment, skill and a clear head. We want people with the courage, determination and the ability to draw on their training and make the right decision if someone’s life is in danger.”
Lifeguards have previously operated on beaches in the area, but that service was run by Hastings Borough Council and supported by Hastings and St Leonards Voluntary Lifeguard Club. The RNLI is hoping to continue to work closely with the Hastings and St Leonards Voluntary Lifeguard Club in the future
Cllr Colin Fitzgerald, chair of Hastings Borough Council’s charity committee, which is responsible for the foreshore in Hastings, said: “I am delighted that we agreed unanimously to work in partnership with the RNLI, who will provide our beach lifeguarding operation for this summer. The RNLI have an excellent reputation, and, I am sure, will do a fantastic job keeping our beaches safe.”
The RNLI is currently recruiting for beaches all over the UK and Ireland, including two other beaches in East Sussex; Bexhill and Camber Sands. The charity is looking for individuals who possess an internationally recognised beach lifeguard qualification. A series of courses hosted by the RNLI and local lifesaving clubs will be held in the coming weeks and months to enable people to get this qualification. Although this does not guarantee a job as an RNLI lifeguard, individuals must also be fit and healthy and be strong swimmers.
In 2016 RNLI lifeguards on some 240 beaches dealt with 17,414 incidents and saved 127 lives.
Find out more about how you can make a difference and apply to be part of the lifesaving teams at www.rnli.org.uk/workonthebeach.
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