Things really started to move up a gear
By Adam Pitman, Lifeguard Seasonal Supervisor, North Pembrokeshire.
Things really started to move up a gear over the past weekend (26/27 June) when RNLI lifeguards went live at 11 of the 13 beaches we cover in Pembrokeshire.
We are patrolling one new beach this year – Freshwater West, which I am sure will brings fresh challenges for our team.
Seeing all the hard work that’s been put in to training the lifeguards over the past months – both returning and new lifeguards – then I am sure we will transfer the high standards we have established at other Pembrokeshire beaches since 2008 to Freshwater West.
And the first test of our high standards came up straight away on our first weekend patrolling the beach when RNLI lifeguards in Wales were involved in three rescues at beach over the weekend - including one of a surfer outside the lifeguards’ normal working hours.
We are confident that our safety patrols will reassure beach users at Freshwater West, but it is still a potentially hazardous beach – particularly in a strong rip current when the surf is up.
It is important to remember that although lifeguards are there to make the beach as safe as possible, the sea is a fast-changing environment and people can get into difficulty.
‘We would advise all beach users – especially surfers and body boarders to take extra care. They should always ask lifeguards at the beach about the conditions before entering the water.’ Other incidents where Pembrokeshire RNLI lifeguards assisted included first aid to a 14-year-old girl at Whitesands and assisting Coastguard, Broadhaven Cliff Rescue team and St David’s RNLI inshore lifeboat in a search for swimmers at Newgale.
One of the other big safety issues in recent weeks has been inflatables being blown out to sea; with the variable offshore winds we have been experiencing. Lifeguards on Tenby South beach were involved in the rescue of a 20-year-old man last Saturday (19 June), after he parted company with his dinghy.
We were helped out by our colleagues from the Coastguard service and eventually, after one of our lifeguards had got the man on to a rescue board, a local fishing boat assisted in taking the man back to shore.
On Tuesday evening (29 June) we are doing a joint exercise with our RNLI lifeboat colleagues in Tenby, as part of our commitment to ensure we deliver a joined-up service from the beach to the open sea.
Watch this space. We’ll let you know how it goes.