Inside The Hut #1

XTRATUF | June 14, 2024

‘Inside the Hut’ is a blog series giving an inside look on what it takes to be an RNLI lifeguard. Telling the stories of some of the 1,700 RNLI lifeguards who are responsible for keeping the people (and animals!) who visit the 240 beaches across the UK each season.

Castlerock Beach Lifeguard Hut Castlerock Beach Lifeguard Hut

The official RNLI lifeguard season has now begun! We hear from Warren Coates, Seasonal Lifeguard Supervisor and 1 of the 1,700 lifeguards who received a pair of exclusive red and yellow XTRATUF sliders earlier this month! Warren gives talks us through a day in the life of a RNLI lifeguard, keeping beachgoers across Northern Ireland safe!

Having been part of the RNLI’s beach lifeguard service, for almost four years, I have learned vital lifesaving skills and had many unforgettable experiences. I joined the lifeguard service, as I love being in the outdoors and find helping others very rewarding. There’s no better office than the beach. Keeping the public safe, working in a dynamic beach environment, can be challenging and provides a real sense of purpose.

Before the season starts, we undergo rigorous training, improving core lifeguard skills, fitness, vehicle/craft competencies and casualty care. Going through this training together is also brilliant fun, which makes for good teambuilding. At the start of each day, my team and I check over all our equipment, ensuring it is operationally ready. I then assess the conditions, brief the team, set up flagged zones in the safest areas of the beach, log on with the Coastguard and begin our patrol.

Throughout the day, we provide safety advice to beach/water users and put in place other preventative measures. On the beach, we deal with many different incidents. People can get into difficulty very quickly and we must respond quickly to rescue them. Dealing with casualties suffering from various injuries and illnesses are a common occurrence.

Our role is to treat casualties, liaise with the Coastguard and Ambulance Service, and ensure their rapid evacuation if necessary. During very busy days, it is no wonder parents, children or other people go missing. In the event of a missing or found person, we coordinate a search of the beach and water, leasing with external agencies, until they are reunited. If appropriate to do so, we do training sessions on the beach or in the water, keeping our skills and fitness up to standard.

One of my favourite beaches to work on is Whiterocks, in Portrush, situated along the Northern Ireland’s Causeway Coastal Route. Visible from the beach are the Skerries Islands and Dunluce Castle. Famed for its pale sedimentary rocks, which form many cliffs, arches and caves, Whiterocks is highly popular for families, walker, swimmers, surfers and stand-up paddleboarders. I love working this beach for its dramatic scenery, good waves and wholesome atmosphere.