FORMBY has been added to RNLI’s beach patrols as the charity continues to roll out services across the UK’s coastlines.
From Saturday, July 4, Formby Beach, which is run by the National Trust, was added to the charity’s fully operational lifeguard service. RNLI lifeguards at Crosby returned on May 30, while Ainsdale Beach went live on June 20.
With beaches operational and new ways of working and equipment properly put to the test, the RNLI has accelerated its service roll-out and increased the number of beaches which will have a lifeguard service. The charity is hoping to have lifeguards on around 170 beaches by early July – 70% of the beaches it would patrol in a normal summer.
Vicky Blane, General Manager at National Trust Formby, said: “Our work with the RNLI in keeping our visitors safe is really important to us, especially now as we see higher numbers of people than usual visiting the coast.
“We’re delighted to be welcoming their lifeguard patrols at Formby once again this summer, though we continue to advise members of the public not to visit immediately and visit us another time when we are less busy.
“If you do decide to visit Formby, listen to the lifeguards and make sure you and your family are maintaining social distancing.”
RNLI Chief Executive, Mark Dowie, added: “With schools closed and restrictions on foreign travel, we know that lots of people will be heading to UK beaches – this could be the busiest summer ever for both our lifeguards and our lifeboat crews.
“I’m very grateful to all those lifeguards who have already started their patrols or are now preparing to get back on the beach – they know this will be a challenging summer and are doing a brilliant job helping to keep the public safe during this pandemic. We must all continue to be aware that the risks from the pandemic have not gone away, but if people work with us and the other emergency services by following social distancing and other Government guidance relevant to their home country, we hope to be able to continue to provide lifeguard services this season. We’d like to thank all our partners – from Her Majesty’s Coastguard, to local councils and landowners – who are also working hard to help us patrol as many beaches as possible.”
Lifeguards will wear PPE like ambulance crews in some situations. New protocols for all first responders mean the lifeguards may not deal with some minor first aid cases but will support people to treat themselves. They will also try to keep socially distant from beach goers, and may need to adopt different patrol methods at times, such as not using the red and yellow flags and asking people to keep apart but close to shore, to help keep people safe while maintaining social distancing.