WITH the school autumn term now underway, patrols on a number of RNLI lifeguarded beaches have come to an end.

However, the charity has taken the decision to extend its lifeguard service through September on certain key beaches.

Lifeguards will be on duty daily at Saltburn beach until September 27.

Now members of the public are being urged by the charity to take extra care and be responsible when visiting the beach by knowing their limits and not taking risks.

If intending to use the water people are encouraged to head to a lifeguarded beach, but to maintain social distancing and if that is not possible, consider spending your day elsewhere.

Despite the coronavirus pandemic, the RNLI has worked with local authorities and other partners to provide lifeguards on 177 beaches nationwide this summer. RNLI lifeguards have adapted to new protocols this season to protect themselves and the public from the virus. This has included wearing PPE, enhanced cleaning of equipment and maintaining a two metre distance from others while carrying out their role.

Gareth Morrison, RNLI head of water safety, said: "It has been an extremely busy summer for RNLI lifeguards with huge numbers of people visiting beaches in the UK. Our lifeguards have worked really hard and done a fantastic job of keeping people safe at the beach while working in a pandemic.

"They deserve great credit for the commitment and dedication they have shown.

"The majority of our lifeguards’ work is preventative so as well as the rescues and incidents they were involved in, they will have stopped many more potentially dangerous incidents before they occurred.’

"We know many people are still on furlough and not holidaying abroad, so it’s likely more people than usual will be visiting the UK coast this September. If you’re visiting the beach, take note of the safety signage at the entrance, go with a friend or tell someone on the shore where you’re going, and always be aware of the conditions and your own capabilities in the water. People walking on the coast should check the weather forecast and tide times before setting out and carry a means of communication.’

If you’re planning a visit to a beach or the coast please follow this safety advice:

  • Have a plan - check the weather forecast, tide times and read local hazard signage
  • Keep a close eye on your family – on the beach and in the water
  • Don’t allow your family to swim alone
  • Don’t use inflatables
  • 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

RNLI lifeboat crews have been operating throughout the pandemic and continue to be on call 24/7 ready to respond to emergencies when their pager goes off.

For details of which beaches have RNLI lifeguard patrols in September and October, go to RNLI.org/find-my-nearest.