Burnham-On-Sea and Berrow RNLI beach lifeguards have finished their patrols for the summer season after the busiest they’ve ever had in terms of visitor numbers and major first aid incidents.
With many people choosing to holiday in the UK this year, beaches in our area saw thousands of people enjoying time outdoors.
During the peak summer months, RNLI lifeguards operated a daily lifeguard service between 10am-6pm on Burnham-On-Sea and Berrow beaches until the end of the season last weekend.
Luke Penman, RNLI Lifeguard Supervisor for Somerset, says: “We knew it was going to be a busy season right from the get-go.”
“Back in May when we first started lifeguard operations on the beach, we were seeing up to twice the amount of beach users than previous years.”
He says the high volume of people continued throughout summer which led to the lifeguards responding to more major first aid incidents than any other year.
It also meant the lifeguards carried out lots of preventative actions, including proactive communication to the public to educate and inform of possible dangers.
He adds: “To prepare them for the season, RNLI lifeguards are specially trained in how to spot and assess danger in a beach environment by performing dynamic risk assessments. They also must maintain a high level of physical fitness for the water-rescue techniques as well as casualty care.”
Luke continued: “This year we had some new lifeguards join our existing team. The whole team undergo training together before the season starts, which allows them to build their skills and working relationships between the newer and more experienced guards.”
Last weekend, Burnham-On-Sea’s Mayor Cllr Mike Facey visited the team when they held an ‘RNLI lifeguard taster session’ on the town beach, as pictured above.
Cllr Facey added: “I pass on the Town Council’s thanks to our local crews from the RNLI, Burnham Coastguard and BARB Search & Rescue for all their work over the busy summer.”
“Their time is greatly appreciated by our local community and visitors in helping to ensure our beaches are kept as safe as possible.”
Luke added: “We will be re-opening lifeguard recruitment for the 2022 season in January. Anyone interested in applying should visit the RNLI website where you will find all the information you need on how to become one of our beach lifeguards.”
RNLI lifeguard Harry Chick, 19, has just finished his first season with the team in Burnham, and says: “My first season has been amazing. I’ve looked forward to going to work every day and being excited to do the job, it’s a feeling I haven’t experienced before. Being a RNLI lifeguard taught me so much over the past summer, including my casualty care skills and the ability to look after and help people.”
“It’s been non-stop since we started and during the last day of the season on Sunday 5th September a lady suffered a severe seizure in which she also dislocated her shoulder on the jetty.”
“Working closely with each other over the summer you build a tight-knit team. I completely trust my fellow lifeguards to do what needs to be done in any situation that may arise, and I can’t wait to come back next season as it really is the best summer job.”
Harry adds: “I would say to anyone thinking of joining the team for 2022 is, just do it as you won’t regret it. The job is genuinely like no other and it’s incredibly rewarding. It provides you with valuable life skills and training that allow you to save lives on and off the job.”
The south west region has the biggest RNLI lifeguard team in the UK and the charity have recently launched the RNLI South West Lifeguard Appeal, with the aim of raising the vital funds needed to train lifeguards to carry out their lifesaving work. If you were helped by one of the lifeguards, or if you simply want to make a donation, click here.