England

Beach duties for RNLI lifeguards

Beach lifeguards
Image caption Lifeguards rescue people from the water and provide first aid

RNLI lifeguards have begun safety patrols on beaches in Sunderland and South Tyneside.

A total of 23 lifeguards will be on duty in Roker and Seaburn, as well as Sandhaven beach in South Shields.

They will carry out daily patrols during the 14-week summer season, which began on the Bank Holiday weekend.

Sunderland and South Tyneside councils handed over lifeguard services to the RNLI in 2009 in a move aimed at saving cash.

The councils pay the lifeguards' wages, and the RNLI - which is funded by charitable donations - provides all training costs and equipment.

Darren Lewis, RNLI lifeguard inspector for the east of England, said that despite last summer's poor weather, the beaches were still busy with day trippers and holiday makers.

He added: "Ninety-five per cent of an RNLI lifeguard's role is preventative but last season the charity's lifeguards in the north east, working alongside the area's RNLI volunteer lifeboat crews, recorded 193 incidents ranging from providing basic first aid on the beach to rescuing people from the water."

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