Lifeguards from RNLI to take over responsibility for patrolling Formby beaches
Wirral council has finalised a contract to hand over responsibility for its seasonal lifeguard service to the lifesaving charity, and said the change will make “no difference” to the level of service the public receive.
The RNLI will take over the existing lifeguard service at West Kirby, Moreton, Harrison Drive, the Plateaux (the west side of New Brighton Fort) and Perch Rock (New Brighton beach).
Matt Horton, RNLI senior lifeguard manager, said: “We’re delighted to have teamed up with the council to ensure that our charity’s lifeguards are on site during the busy spring and summer months to spot any potential dangers before they develop and give visitors extra peace of mind.
“The RNLI is pleased to be building on the good work and service that the council has previously provided and is really looking forward to the partnership.”
Cllr Chris Meaden, Wirral’s cabinet member for leisure, sport and culture, said: “We wish the new service every success, and are greatly indebted to the RNLI who have worked very positively with us to make this happen.
“Significantly, the change in provider will make no difference to the level of service the public have come to expect from the lifeguards. Apart from different coloured clothing worn by personnel, the public will not notice a difference.”
The charity’s lifeguards will start patrolling the beaches over the Easter school holidays from Friday April 3 to Sunday April 19.
They will then operate weekend-only patrols until Saturday May 23, when a seven-day-a-week service will commence and run through until Sunday September 6.
The weekend-only service will resume from Saturday September 12 until the season close on Sunday September 27.
RNLI lifeguards will operate alongside existing volunteer RNLI lifeboat crew based at West Kirby, Hoylake and New Brighton, which will provide a joined-up service from the beach to the open sea.
The lifeguard posts will be funded by the council while the extensive training and equipment needed by the lifeguards will be paid for by the RNLI.
As a charity that depends on voluntary contributions and legacies for its income, the RNLI will be relying on the continued support of the public to help fund its role in this new venture.
The new RNLI service will link with the existing RNLI patrols provided on Sefton’s beaches – at Formby, Crosby, Southport and Ainsdale – and will share management and resources.
Last year, the charity’s lifeguards helped more than 19,000 people across the UK, saving the lives of 92 people, rescuing a further 1,769 people and treating 1,083 major first aid casualties.
Story and Photo Source: Liverpool Echo