Coldingham loses out on lifeguards as a result of COVID-19

Coldingham Bay will no longer be lifeguarded by the RLNI as a result of recruitment and training issues caused by the coronavirus outbreak.

The RLNI said they will only be covering 30% of the beaches they normally do in 2020. This means that only 70 of 248 beaches will have lifeguard patrols.

Rollout of the normal seasonal lifeguard service was paused at the end of March due to the measures put in place by the government to control the spread of coronavirus. Lifeguard cover was supposed to commence on the 23rd May and run until early September at Coldingham.

The RLNI lifeguarded Coldingham Sands in conjunction with Scottish Borders Council and they are now working together on numerous interventions to keep beachgoers safe this year.

John Lamont MP commented: “Obviously this is very concerning for those who use Coldingham Sands for swimming, surfing and many other activities. It is important that these changes are communicated properly so that people who use the beach in the future are aware of any dangers.

“Although this is a frustrating outcome, it is clear that the RLNI were left with no other choice other than to reduce lifeguard cover this year across the UK. They are not immune to the challenges that coronavirus has caused for all organisations.

“The RLNI do a lot of important work keeping people safe when they are at the seaside. I hope that when government guidance allows people can get back to enjoying their local beaches safely and that the lifeguards will return sometime in the future.

RLNI Chief Executive Mark Dowie said: “The RNLI is incredibly proud of its highly skilled lifeguards who work alongside the charity’s volunteer lifeboat crews, HM Coastguard and other emergency services. RNLI lifeguards are professional lifesavers and will be essential when the lockdown is lifted and people head to our coastlines and enjoy our beautiful beaches.

“The current situation means that the operational logistics and training behind setting up a lifeguard service – normally in full swing at the moment – have had to stop. Re-establishing this infrastructure and distributing equipment to beaches will take time. And we must also make sure that conditions are safe for our lifeguards to provide an effective service – our priority remains the safety of our people and the public.

“But despite these challenges, and given enough notice of lockdown lifting, we’re hoping to put lifeguard patrols on around 70 beaches across the UK and Channel Islands.”