RNLI lifeguards are returning to their posts this weekend to offer safety advice and assistance on four of Wales’ most popular beaches ready for the school Easter holidays.

From 10am this Saturday (April 9) the charity’s lifeguards will return to their posts at Swansea’s Langland Bay, Caswell and Three Cliffs Bay, as well as Whitesands in Pembrokeshire. Daily safety patrols will be provided by the charity’s lifeguards between the hours of 10am-6pm.

Figures released today by the RNLI showed that the charity’s lifeguards assisted 6,834 people on beaches across Wales last summer. The lifesaving team responded to 1,858 incidents across 34 of the country’s busiest beaches over the busy summer months as thousands of people turned to the coast to enjoy a day out at the seaside after lockdown.

Last summer over 20M people visited a lifeguarded beach*, the highest number recorded since the RNLI introduced lifeguard patrols in 2001. Across the UK and the Republic of Ireland, RNLI lifeguards aided more than 40,000 people in 2021, which is a 25% increase on the previous high back in 2018. The latest figures come as RNLI lifeguards train and prepare to return to beaches for the 2022 season.

Every year RNLI lifeguards are involved in carrying out water rescues, administering casualty care, delivering water safety information and helping to reunite missing children with their families. Over the past few weeks they have been training and practicing their skills so that they are ready to face what the upcoming season brings.

The RNLI will carry out their usual lifeguard service this year in its standard phased approach. Further lifeguard safety patrols will be introduced in Wales over the bank holiday weekend as lifeguards return to Whitmore Bay (Barry), Coney/Sandy Bay, Trecco Bay, Aberafon and Tenby South beach on Friday 15 April. The number of beaches will gradually increase through the season until the peak school summer holidays when 34 beaches are patrolled across Wales.

Joanna Price, RNLI Regional Lifeguard Lead, said: “RNLI lifeguards are at the forefront of the charity’s lifesaving work, as they keep beach visitors safe across the UK and Channel Islands. Last year’s figures show the importance of our lifeguards and what they do for the public, we are expecting coastal areas to be just as busy in the summer season ahead.

“The RNLI has been working closely with partners and local communities to ensure the beaches and lifeguard units are ready and equipped, and that lifeguard training has been performed seamlessly.

“Pre-season preparations have gone well and our lifeguards are looking forward to getting back on the beaches and doing what they do best; offering preventative safety advice to visitors and rescuing those in difficulty in the water or on the beach itself.

“However, it is important to remember that our lifeguards can’t be everywhere. Our lifeguards will be supported by the charity’s 24/7 lifeboat service and water safety work, but we urge anyone visiting the coast to take responsibility for themselves and their family this summer.”

We have a number of patrolled beaches around the coast from the Easter holidays. Find your nearest here

Chris Cousens, RNLI Regional Water Safety Lead said: “Heading to coastal waters is a great way to have fun and stay active, especially during the summer months. But, weather conditions can change quickly and, if you’re not careful, you can easily get caught out.

“It is important that anyone visiting the coast understands the hazards of the environment. It can be an unpredictable environment, particularly during early summer when the risk of cold water shock significantly increases, as air temperatures warm but water temperatures remain dangerously cold. We’d remind anyone entering the water to take extra care and avoid unnecessary risks as early season conditions are more challenging.

“Taking basic precautions can greatly reduce the risk of getting into difficulty, and improve your chance of being found quickly should you need rescuing. With this in mind, we urge beach visitors to come dressed appropriately to ensure your visit is both safe and enjoyable. For activities like paddleboarding, we’d recommend you wear a wetsuit, as it will keep you warm in an emergency. Wearing an appropriate buoyancy aid or lifejacket is also vital, and carry a means of calling for help, such as a mobile phone in a waterproof pouch.”

The RNLI is urging anyone visiting the coast this summer to make sure they keep themselves and their families safe by following beach safety advice.

  • Visit a lifeguarded beach and swim between the red and yellow flags.
  • Check the weather forecast, tide times and read local hazard signage to understand local risks.
  • Keep a close eye on your family – on the beach and in the water – don’t allow your family to swim alone.
  • If you fall into the water unexpectedly, FLOAT TO LIVE. Fight your instinct to thrash around, lean back, extend your arms and legs, and Float.
  • In an emergency dial 999 and ask for the Coastguard.