Lifeguard trainees undergo stiff training test on Weymouth beach

RESCUE: RNLI beach lifeguards take a casualty out of the water

RESCUE: RNLI beach lifeguards take a casualty out of the water

First published in News Dorset Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Senior Reporter

RNLI beach lifeguard trainees have been put through their paces on a week-long course on Weymouth beach.

For about eight hours each day, trainees did swim tests, water rescue simulations, first aid training and learnt about the winds and tides.

On Saturday they sat a five-hour final exam with two external examiners. Those who passed will now be the lifeguards on Weymouth, Green-hill and West Dorset beaches across the summer.

Of the 30 applicants, the RNLI teams started off the week with ten hopefuls.

They had to pass a swim test of 400 metres in under 7.5 minutes – around 16 lengths of a swimming pool, but with added environmental factors like the waves and wind in the open water swim. Those who did not pass the swim test but were close to the time worked with the RNLI to see if they could help to improve their times.

RNLI lifeguard supervisor Kester Sheppard said there was a lot to learn including first aid and environmental factors.

He said: “They go through the standard beach safety information, then they go through the environmental factors – how tides work and how the wind works with regards to sea breezes.”

He added that lifeguards did a lot of theory behind the practical.

Mr Sheppard said: “They have to know medical conditions and what causes what and different treatments that need to be administered.”

He added that he had been very impressed with all the trainees who had worked very hard across the week and shown great enthusiasm. He added that the course was very physically and mentally demanding.

Last year Dorset lifeguards helped more than 3,000 people – their busiest summer for 24 years.

Weymouth’s lifeguards deal with lots of different incidents but some of the most common are: heat related first aid and people getting into difficulty and floating out to sea on inflatable craft.

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