Lifeguards are back to patrol Norfolk coast

RNLI lifeguards are back on the Norfolk coast to enhance beach safety throughout the summer season - and are warning people to take care.

Since Saturday, the team has begun its annual patrol of beaches at Sheringham, East Cromer, Mundesley, Sea Palling, Great Yarmouth and Gorleston.

And from July 9, when the peak season starts, there will also be lifeguards at West Cromer, East Runton and Hemsby.

Many of the lifeguards from last year will be returning and a few are coming back from a winter spent in Australia or New Zealand.

Stuart Thompson, RNLI lifeguard manager for East Anglia, said: 'There are many perils out there to be aware of when visiting the beach. We want people to have a good time and enjoy themselves but also to act sensibly.

'For instance, every year people jump off harbour walls and piers – however due to submerged hazards and a potential lack of water, there is a risk of permanent disability or even death. In the past people have ended up in wheelchairs for life just because of a moment's lapse.

'We also ask parents to watch over their children and ensure they don't wander off.'

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RNLI lifeguards provide cover out to 300 metres and operate from 10am to 6pm every day.

They also receive extra first aid training and are able to use defibrillators, administer oxygen, treat spinal injuries and deal with other medical emergencies.

In Cromer, from June 13 to 17, there will be a Hit the Surf programme, where Norfolk school children aged between eight-12 can experience life as a lifeguard. Any teacher wishing to participate should contact Dave Gorman, divisional beach safety manager, on 07970 080806.

In 2010, lifeguards covering beaches in the Great Yarmouth (Gorleston, Great Yarmouth, Hemsby) area responded to 100 incidents, assisting 104 people. For beaches in the North Norfolk area (Sheringham, West and East Cromer, Mundesley, Sea Palling, East Runton), lifeguards responded to 430 incidents, assisting 442 people.

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