New young lifesavers’ club booming as visitors flock to coast
- Credit: Archant
A club helping to train the next generation of beach lifesavers is booming as visitors flock to the Norfolk coast.
Julie Coleman, chairman of the Mundesley Surf Lifesaving Club, said the club already had 30 youngsters and a waiting list of more wanting to join after it launched year.
Mrs Coleman, 46, said she was delighted with how the young lifesavers were developing.
She said: “Their awareness of what they need to do to keep themselves safe is brilliant - the kids are now educating the adults.
“We’ve received amazing support from our community - the parish council is really behind us and we work closely with the Mundesley inshore lifeboat.
“We’ve been carrying out evening patrols at weekends because we’re finding there’s an unprecedented number of people on the beach - and people are often staying on the beach till 9pm or 10pm.”
The children are in three groups - the eight-to-10-year-old ‘nippers’, a development group for 11-13s, and a group for older teens, which is yet to start its training.
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There is a leadership team of a dozen adults, and training is being done in bubbles of five children and a leader, with an external lifeguard overseeing each group.
During much of the lockdown period club members were restricted to beach warden duties, but they have now been given PPE and can carry out rescues.
But Mrs Coleman said they had thankfully not yet had to save anyone from the waves, which was partly down to how effectively they were already doing their jobs.
She said: “So much of lifeguarding is about prevention - you can’t prevent a medical emergency but you can prevent a child drifting into a rift.
“People come to us for advice, but we’ll also approach people and tell them if where they’re swimming is a bit dangerous, and inform them about the main dangers on our beach, which are the groynes and the breakwaters.”
Mrs Coleman said current RNLI advice if someone found themselves caught in a rip current was simple.
“Float,” she said. “If you find yourself in any difficulty in the water. It takes the panic away, and they can call for help or get their breath back.”