Lifeguards set to return to NI beaches ahead of Easter holidays

Lifeguard training
Lifeguard training

RNLI lifeguards are set to return to beaches on the Causeway Coast to provide Easter cover as the temperatures rise.

Starting on Good Friday - April 19 - lifeguards will be operating a daily patrol from 11am to 7pm on Benone Strand, Portstewart Strand, West Strand and East Strand in Portrush, and Whiterocks.

The Easter service will run until Sunday 28 April.

According to the RNLI, the lifeguards role is to keep beachgoers safe by spotting the dangers and preventing accidents before they happen, as well as responding instantly if they occur.

Speaking ahead of going live for Easter, Karl O’Neill, RNLI Lead Lifeguard Supervisor said the lifeguards had been undergoing intensive training in recent weeks: "Our lifeguard induction covers seven key areas which provide new lifeguards with the information they need to carry out their work safely and effectively.

"Lifeguards then put their knowledge into practice during a series of staged scenarios.

"Then they’re ready to hit the ground running on the first day of the lifeguard season.

"Working alongside our colleagues in the Causeway Coast and Glens District Council, the RNLI is delighted to be back for the 2019 season and our lifeguards are looking forward to putting their training and skills into action.

"We are here to provide a safe environment on the beach and to promote safe behaviour so that visitors can enjoy their day and return home safely at the end of it. We would encourage visitors to speak to our lifeguards, ask for safety advice, and to call on them should they get into difficulty."

Last year, lifeguards in Northern Ireland responded to 283 incidents and came to the aid of 252 people.

The RNLI’s advice for anyone planning a trip to the beach is to respect the water, check weather and tide times before you go and if planning to go into the water, swim at a lifeguarded beach, between the red and yellow flags. Avoid using inflatables in strong winds or rough seas.

If you get into trouble, stick your hand in the air and shout for help and if you see someone else in trouble, tell a lifeguard. If you can’t see a lifeguard, call 999 or 112 and ask for the Coastguard.