Lifeguard contract extended for three years
Hastings Borough Council has agreed to extend the RNLI (Royal National Lifeboat Institution) contract to provide a beach lifeguard service in the town for a further three years.
At its cabinet meeting on Tuesday (6th April) there was unanimous support for extending the contract to provide lifeguards at three 'stations' on Hastings beach :- Pelham, the pier, and St Leonards.
The 2021 lifeguard season will start on Saturday 29 May 2021 (Spring bank holiday weekend). All three stations will have lifeguards daily until Sunday 6 June 2021 to cover both the bank holiday and school half term break. From Saturday 12 June 2021 all beaches will have lifeguards at weekends until the start of peak season, Saturday 10 July 2021. From then they will operate seven days a week until Sunday 5 September 2021. All beaches will then revert back to weekend cover until Sunday 26 September 2021
Kevin Boorman, the council's marketing manager, explained :- "The RNLI, the national charity dedicated to lifesaving at sea, is a 'best practice' operator providing the 'gold standard' of lifeguarding, and manages beach lifeguarding services for many local authorities around the country.
"The RNLI operate a joint funding arrangement to cover the costs associated with running the lifeguard service. They ask for a contribution from the council equivalent to the seasonal wage bill for the time the operational lifeguards spend patrolling, with the RNLI funding the remainder of the service, including management provision.
"The RNLI undertake all training, and provide the highest level of safety equipment. They ask for permission from the council to fundraise and promote the Institution on the beach during the lifeguarded season. This means that the RNLI can provide a better value service than we could on a like for like basis, and also that our lifeguards have access to a more focussed 'saving lives at sea' management support organisation than we are able to provide.
"The RNLI also operates the lifeguarding service at Camber Sands and Bexhill on behalf of Rother District Council, and Hastings fits well into this local structure.
"The performance of the RNLI lifeguards is to be commended, with 8 lives saved, and 14 people rescued, and nearly 14 000 face to face 'preventative actions' in the last two years alone. This is an incredible achievement, especially because the 2020 season was much curtailed by COVID-19.
"I am delighted that our beaches will be in the safe hands of the RNLI for a further three years, benefitting our local community and visitors alike."