Life savers helping to keep beaches safe

PUBLISHED: 17:56 08 July 2020 | UPDATED: 17:56 08 July 2020

The busy beach at Southwold on June 25. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The busy beach at Southwold on June 25. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY


Members of a lifesaving club are helping to keep visitors to Lowestoft and Southwold beaches safe this summer – as they volunteer as beach wardens.

Lowestoft beach on May 31 as lockdown was eased. Pictures: Brittany WoodmanLowestoft beach on May 31 as lockdown was eased. Pictures: Brittany Woodman

Over the past few weekends, volunteers from Waveney Surf Life Saving Club have been patrolling the beach north of Claremont Pier in Lowestoft and at Southwold, near to Gun Hill.

Acting as ‘beach wardens’, the volunteers patrol the beaches, offering safety advice and assistance to beachgoers.

With support from East Suffolk Council, the beach wardens began patrolling last month following a request from the national Surf Life Saving Club GB who asked them to get involved as more people began to visit beaches as lockdown restrictions eased.

Already trained in rescue, first aid and surveillance, members of the Waveney Surf Life Saving Club were able to patrol beaches before the RNLI lifeguards were able to start their summer cover.

With RNLI lifeguard patrols returning to Lowestoft South Beach on June 20 and to Southwold on July 4, the beach wardens are patrolling areas not overseen by RNLI lifeguards.

The majority of the beach wardens’ role is providing safety advice, including guidance on social distancing, tide strength and advising people not to take inflatables into the sea.

The volunteers will continue their patrols throughout the summer, providing cover at weekends.

Letitia Smith, East Suffolk Council’s cabinet member for communities, leisure and tourism, said: “We are grateful that the members of the Waveney Surf Life Saving Club have kindly volunteered their time to help keep our beaches as safe as possible, especially given the challenging circumstances.”

Hal Tooley, club chairman of Waveney Surf Life Saving Club, said: “It’s really great to be able to provide our beach warden service alongside the RNLI lifeguards. It gives our members a great chance to use their beach knowledge and ultimately help beachgoers and prevent incidents from happening.”

Nick Ayers, club coach at Waveney Surf Life Saving Club, said: “To be able to get involved in patrolling is a new venture for the club.

“The beach warden programme will really help provide them with the knowledge and skills of becoming a fully trained beach lifeguard.

“We will continue to work alongside our lifesaving partners RNLI, the Coastguard and the Lowestoft Lifeguard Volunteer Corps, providing coverage at Lowestoft and Southwold beach.”

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