New lifeguards in Portsmouth to extend safe swimming zone in sea

NEW LIFEGUARDS placed along Portsmouth beaches will provide a larger safe area for swimmers this summer.

Saturday, 12th June 2021, 12:54 pm

Over the past year, Portsmouth City Council has been working with the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) to monitor the sea and shore conditions and review where it is safest to take a dip and which stretches of water should be avoided by swimmers.

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The safe swimming zone, patrolled by lifeguards, will be extended eastwards with a new seasonal RNLI lifeguard unit on Eastney Beach, opposite St George's Road.

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Lifeguard Naomi Groome at the beginning of a shift on Southsea seafront in 2019. Picture: Chris Moorhouse (240819-43)

RNLI lifeguards will also be on duty at two further stations east and west of South Parade Pier, seven days a week from early July until September. The Portsmouth and Southsea voluntary lifeguards are also now operating at weekends between the Pyramids and South Parade Pier.

Councillor Ben Dowling, the city’s leisure boss, said: ‘We have some fantastic beaches in Portsmouth and, with more of us holidaying at home, we're expecting lots of people to visit and enjoy our coastline this summer. We want to make sure that if people are going into the water that they do so in safe swimming spots, where the depth and currents are more predictable and help is on hand if someone gets into difficulties. The RNLI and volunteer lifeguards play a vital role monitoring the sea conditions and keeping beachgoers safe, so we're asking anyone taking a dip to follow their advice and stay safe in the sea.’

While the safe swimming zone has been extended eastwards, swimming off the beach between the Blue Reef Aquarium and Hovertravel is no longer deemed safe. Changes to the seabed have led to a steep drop off from the beach and exposed parts of the old wooden groyne structures.

These are submerged at high water and a major hazard to swimmers. Signs have been put in place to warn beachgoers of the risks. Similar warnings are also in place near the Hot Walls.

Craig Maltby, lead lifeguard supervisor for the RNLI, addded: ‘We urge you to respect the water, always visit a lifeguarded beach and swim between the flags.

‘Call 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard if you spot someone in trouble in the water.’

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