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Lifeguards are just as important to beach safety as coastguards. Especially during busy seasons, Britain’s beaches will usually have a lifeguard keeping watch over the beach and sea goers. Lifeguards don’t just save people, but prevent accidents from happening by being constantly alert to the goings on, and aware of all possible dangers.
The role of beach lifeguard comes under the emergency services, as they sometimes form part of rescue missions, particularly when on call. Lifeguards are the ones who will rescue swimmer who gets into trouble whilst at sea.
Typical responsibilities are supervising swimmers, spotting hazards, giving advice on water safety, water rescue and performing first aid and CPR if needed. Beach lifeguards require a high level of fitness, as well as a valid life-saving qualification. Qualifications can be gained by signing up for a course for either a lifeguard club or a commercial organisation.
The RNLI alone covers 163 beaches across England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Jersey. Yet other beaches will have their own local authorities.
Lifeguarding can be a rather seasonal job, with not all of Britain’s beaches being manned all year round. Therefore, many beach lifeguards are part-time or even volunteers. The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) employs lifeguards occasionally on a full-time basis but otherwise there are less full-time lifeguard positions available, which is not the case for pool lifeguards. Some local authorities may have year round employment options, so it is worth enquiring directly for more information.