RNLI pleads with government to restrict beach access until lifeguards back in place

A rescue charity boss is pleading with the Government to stop people visiting the country’s beaches.

By Sarah Fitton
Wednesday, 27th May 2020, 9:22 am

Chief Executive of the Royal National Lifeboat Institute (RNLI) is asking ministers to restrict access to the coast until it has lifeguard patrols back in place.

In an open letter, he says the lifting of restrictions which allow people to travel to the coast has put the RNLI in “an impossible situation”.

His letter comes after two people died in Cornwall yesterday (Monday).

Sign up to our daily The Scarborough News Today newsletter

Stock image. JPI Media/ Richard Ponter

His letter reads: “Despite our warnings that there were no lifeguards on patrol this weekend, crowded beaches, hot weather and big waves meant our lifeboat crews had their busiest weekend so far this year. At least two people lost their lives.

“This puts the RNLI in an impossible situation. With thousands flocking to English beaches now lockdown restrictions have been eased, we must choose between keeping the public or our lifeguards safe.

“Safety advice and warnings will only go so far when people are desperate to enjoy some freedom after weeks of lockdown.

“As a lifesaving charity, the RNLI cannot stop people going to beaches – but the government can – before more lives are lost around our coast this summer.”

He goes on to explain that the charity are working hard to source PPE that will work on a beach and in water, and train lifeguards in procedures that will reduce the risk of infection.

In addition, he said it is facing an expected £45m shortfall in funding by the end of the year because many fundraising activities have had to stop.

His letter concludes: “So, we’re asking for help to manage an impossible situation – we’re asking the public to heed our safety advice and we’re asking the Government to restrict access to the coast until we have lifeguard patrols back on beaches.

“Only then can we keep the public safe from the sea and our lifeguards safe from the virus.”

A message from the Editor:

Thank you for reading this story on our website. While I have your attention, I also have an important request to make of you.

In order for us to continue to provide high quality and trusted local news on this free-to-read site, I am asking you to also please purchase a copy of our newspaper.

Our journalists are highly trained and our content is independently regulated by IPSO to some of the most rigorous standards in the world. But being your eyes and ears comes at a price. So we need your support more than ever to buy our newspapers during this crisis.

With the coronavirus lockdown having a major impact on many of our local valued advertisers - and consequently the advertising that we receive - we are more reliant than ever on you helping us to provide you with news and information by buying a copy of our newspaper.

Thank you