RNLI on the lookout for new beach lifesavers

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution is on the hunt for budding lifeguards to launch their lifesaving careers on some of Northern Ireland’s most popular beaches.

 Recruitment for this season’s lifeguard team has started both in county Down and along the Causeway Coast in preparation for keeping beachgoers safe this summer. The charity’s lifeguards not only rescue those in difficulty in the water, they also provide vital beach first-aid and safety advice to ensure visitors can return home safely.

In 2021, the RNLI’s lifeguards responded to 330 incidents across its beaches at Tyrella, Murlough and Cranfield in county Down, and at Benone, Downhill, Castlerock, Portstewart Strand, Portrush West Harbour, Portrush West, Portrush East, Whiterocks and Ballycastle on the Causeway Coast. As a result, they helped 384 people in need, one of whom was a life saved.

Among the incidents they attended last summer, lifeguards plucked swimmers from powerful rip currents, rescued children being blown offshore in inflatables, came to the aid of paddleboarders and gave lifesaving CPR on beaches.

Successful applicants will receive world-class lifesaving training, enjoy good rates of pay, the possibility of flexible working patterns and develop valuable skills for a future career.

Post-graduate student Beth Montgomery from Portballintrae is a senior lifeguard for the RNLI on the Causeway Coast. She is about to embark on her tenth season.

‘Lifeguarding is a great summer job to have whilst studying,’ Beth explains. ‘It’s a very fulfilling job. You get the feeling of having lots of responsibility but at the same time getting the sense of helping people, whether that be actively saving someone’s life or keeping everyone in the water safe, and that, is very rewarding.

‘I remember when I initially started lifeguarding being nervous about coming into a job with so much responsibility, but you get appropriate and effective training and as the season progresses and you get more experience and more knowledge, your confidence builds. You learn to trust your decision-making skills and be confident in performing under pressure, it’s character building.’

Beth says one of the best things about being a lifeguard is the environment you get to work in: ‘Every day is different and there is such variety depending what happens from day to day. You get to work in a team with like-minded people, keep your fitness up with different forms of training and develop interpersonal and desirable skills for future careers, such as teamwork, communication, and leadership, it looks great on the CV and the pay is very good.

‘Lifeguarding is a very enjoyable job and I would recommend it. Anyone who likes the outdoors, likes the beach, talking to and helping people out, it’s an ideal job for you.

Michael Thompson, Regional Lifeguard Lead said: ‘Beach lifeguarding is a great opportunity and a very rewarding role that changes lives – including your own – all whilst enjoying the beach as your office.

‘Our lifeguards range from teenagers all the way up to lifesavers in their 70s, as long as you meet the fitness requirements and you are over 16 years old, there could be a role for you.

‘The job also has great paths for progression – we have lifeguards who have been working for the RNLI for years, both on the beach and as part of our support teams, and the skills you gain can make an ideal first step towards many careers. It’s a great opportunity whether you want a rewarding summer job or to pursue a career in lifesaving.’

Find out more about becoming a lifeguard at rnli.org/BeALifeguard.