Causeway Chronicle

RNLI lifeguards set to return to Causeway Coast for Easter break with new operational hours

The RNLI lifeguard team are returning to patrol seven beaches along the Causeway Coast over the upcoming Easter period.

The lifeguard service is adjusting its operational hours this season from 10am to 6pm each day.

From Good Friday (29 March) through to Sunday 7 April, lifeguards will be providing a patrol on Benone Strand, Portrush West Strand, Portrush East Strand, Whiterocks and Ballycastle while they will have a patrol on Portstewart Strand over the weekend period from Good Friday to Easter Monday.

Following the Easter period, the RNLI lifeguard team working with the Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council and the National Trust will then prepare and get ready for the peak season in June.

A weekend service on Saturdays and Sundays on the same beaches will commence on 4 May to 30 June, before daily patrols for the summer season start on Monday 1 July.

Speaking ahead of the Easter break, Michael Thompson, RNLI Regional Lifeguard Lead said: ‘Our lifeguards have been working hard in recent weeks during their inductions to prepare themselves for being back on our beaches next week. This has included refreshing their lifeguard skills, doing fitness tests, vehicle courses and casualty care. The team is now looking forward to getting back on to the beaches and putting that training into action. Throughout the upcoming season, our lifeguards will assist numerous individuals. It’s crucial to recognize that their role extends beyond rescue operations; they’re also there to offer beach safety guidance. Don’t hesitate to approach them for advice, ensuring a safe and enjoyable day for all.’

Early risers will be pleased to know that they will be able to enjoy our beaches with a lifeguard patrol an hour earlier than usual in the morning with a new time start of 10am.’

Councillor Steven Callaghan, Mayor of Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council, added: ‘As my chosen Mayor’s charity during my time in office, I am delighted that Council continues its partnership with RNLI and we welcome the return of beach lifeguards over the Easter period.

‘Our beaches remain a valued outdoor asset enjoyed by both locals and visitors, the RNLI helps to ensure everyone has an enjoyable and safe visit to the Borough and we thank them for the lifesaving service they provide.’

The RNLI is urging anyone visiting the coast this summer to make sure they keep themselves and their families safe by following their beach safety advice.

·       Visit a lifeguarded beach and swim between the red and yellow flags.

·       Check the weather forecast, tide times and read local hazard signage to understand local risks.

·       For activities like paddleboarding or kayaking we recommend you wear a wetsuit, buoyancy aid or lifejacket and carry a means of calling for help in a waterproof pouch and keep it on you. Tell someone what you are doing, where you are going and when you expect to return.

·       If you are going open water swimming, use a wetsuit to keep you warm, wear a bright coloured swim hat and take a tow float to store personal items including a phone for emergencies.

·       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.

If you are interested in working on the beach this summer, there are still lifeguard positions available. You will receive world-class lifesaving training, enjoy good rates of pay, the possibility of flexible working patterns and develop valuable skills for their future career. Find out more about becoming a lifeguard at rnli.org/BeALifeguard.

Find your nearest at rnli.org/find-my-nearest/lifeguarded-beaches.

Key facts about the RNLI

The RNLI is the charity that saves lives at sea. Its volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service around Ireland and the UK. The RNLI operates 10 lifeboat stations in Northern Ireland and has lifeguard beaches along the Causeway Coast and in county Down which it operates seasonally. The RNLI is independent of Coastguard and government and depends on voluntary donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service.

Causeway Chronicle

Causeway Chronicle