Members of a local lifesaving club are helping to keep visitors to Lowestoft and Southwold beaches safe this summer, by volunteering as beach wardens.
Over the past few weekends, volunteers from Waveney Surf Life Saving Club have been patrolling the beach north of Claremont Pier in Lowestoft and at Southwold, near to Gun Hill. Acting as ‘beach wardens’, the volunteers patrol the beaches, offering safety advice and assistance to beach goers.
With support from East Suffolk Council, the beach wardens began patrolling last month following a request from the national Surf Life Saving Club GB who asked them to get involved as more people began to visit local beaches as lockdown restrictions eased. Already trained in rescue, first aid and surveillance, members of the Waveney Surf Life Saving Club were able to patrol beaches before the RNLI lifeguards were able to start their summer cover. The beach wardens are also patrolling areas not overseen by RNLI lifeguards, who are now in place at both Lowestoft South Beach and Southwold.
The majority of the beach wardens’ role is providing safety advice, including guidance on social distancing, tide strength and advising people not to take inflatables into the sea. The volunteers will continue their patrols throughout the summer, providing cover at weekends and at times with higher risk factors.
Cllr Letitia Smith, East Suffolk Council’s Cabinet Member for Communities, Leisure and Tourism said: “We are grateful that the members of the Waveney Surf Life Saving Club have kindly volunteered their time to help keep our beaches as safe as possible, especially given the challenging circumstances. East Suffolk has some of the best beaches in the country and it is so important people can enjoy their time there safely.
“This means being mindful of their own safety and the safety of others, listening to beach safety advice and keeping away from other people. We would also encourage people to use common sense when choosing which area of beach to visit. If it feels too crowded, we would urge people to look for somewhere less congested instead.”
Hal Tooley, Club Chairman of Waveney Surf Life Saving Club said: “It’s really great to be able to provide our beach warden service alongside the currently reduced number of RNLI lifeguards. It gives our members a great chance to use their beach knowledge and ultimately help beach goers and prevent incidents from happening. If you see any of us wearing our orange tabards or Waveney SLSC tops, come and say hello and find out what else we do as a club!”
Nick Ayers, Club Coach at Waveney Surf Life Saving Club said: “To be able to get involved in patrolling is a new venture for the club. Traditionally we have been a sport and training club for young and old, but now we are able to offer something new to our members and of course our local community.
“We have a fantastic base of youth members all of which are great lifesaving sport competitors itching to become fully trained lifeguards. The beach warden programme will really help provide them with the knowledge and skills of becoming a fully trained beach lifeguard. We will continue to work alongside our lifesaving partners RNLI, the Coastguard and the Lowestoft Lifeguard Volunteer Corps, providing coverage at Lowestoft and Southwold beach.”
Established in 2016, Waveney Surf Life Saving Club helps teach vital life-saving techniques and improve beach safety knowledge amongst the Lowestoft and Southwold communities. The club runs weekly beach training throughout the summer for all age groups.
Find out more, including details of their fundraising efforts for PPE and other equipment, at www.waveneyslsc.org
RNLI lifeguard patrols returned to Lowestoft South Beach on 20 June and to Southwold on 4 July