THE lifeguard service on Sefton beaches has stopped after locals were urged to avoid the coast.
The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) has made the decision after the Government told people to stay at home and avoid gathering outdoors.
The measure is to ensure lifeguards adhere to the Government’s instructions to limit contact between people and encourage the public to do the same.
Lifeguards work and train in groups, which makes keeping the requirement to remain 2 metres apart difficult and the nature of their work with the public puts them – and beach visitors – at risk of close contact.
Also, their usual activity includes encouraging people to visit patrolled beaches and swim in certain areas – this activity would go against the Government’s clear instruction for people to stay at home, maintain social distancing and not congregate in groups.
The lifeguard service at Crosby beach, which operates a 365-day-a-year service, was suspended on Wednesday, March 25.
A spokesperson said: “We hope that once the current situation changes, and government guidance allows, we will be able to re-establish the lifeguard service and employ those lifeguards onto the beaches but it is too early to know when that might be.
“With the situation changing regularly, we will continue to review the rollout of lifeguard beaches as the season continues with the aim of restoring services when possible. In the meantime, we are working with beach owners to inform the public that lifeguards will not be patrolling and have the following safety advice:
· At Crosby, stay within 50m of the promenade.
· Check the weather forecast and tide times
· If going afloat, carry a means for calling for help and always wear a lifejacket
· If you fall into the water unexpectedly FLOAT TO LIVE. Fight your instinct to thrash around, lean back, extend your arms and legs, and Float
· In any coastal emergency dial 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard
· Let someone know where you are going and when you are expected back.”
The RNLI added that the lifeboat stations remain on service.