RNLI lifeguards have been visiting schools in Dorset to teach beach safety to children.

Eight of the RNLI’s Dorset lifeguard team have attended more than 40 primary schools to teach around 8,000 children how to stay safe on the beach.

This is the first time the lifeguard team have visited schools across the county, and it comes after last year saw the busiest summer for Dorset lifeguards in 24 years.

Barry Heathfield, RNLI Lifeguard Manager, said: “These educational sessions are great for kids, and are a fantastic opportunity for them to learn how to enjoy the beach safely.

“Last year we helped over 3,000 people. About 65% of those were children and young people.”

Mr Heathfield said their aim was to teach pupils the meaning of the different coloured beach safety flags, how to stay safe in the water, sun safety and the role of a lifeguard.

Children got involved through a 45-minute interactive session, which included a question and answer session at the end.

“They got a leaflet to go home with, and hopefully when they talk to their parents about their day, they may learn something too,” said Mr Heathfield.

Viv Sloan, principal at The Dunbury Church of England Primary School in Winterborne Whitechurch said: “They delivered a lovely and interesting talk that explained the dangers and how to keep themselves safe.”

“The RNLI lifeguards were extremely knowledgeable, keen and very interested in what they were doing. The kids are still talking about it to this day.”

Safety tips included are: ‘Always read and obey the safety signs, never swim alone, and if you get into trouble, stick your hand in the air and shout for help.