Lifeguards from the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) are returning to beaches this week as 2021 figures show more people than ever have visited a supervised beach and needed help from the body’s lifeguards charity.

Last summer more than 20 million people visited a supervised beach, the highest number since the RNLI introduced lifeguard patrols in 2001. Lifeguards also helped more than 40,000 people in 2021, or a 25% increase on the previous record from 2018. The latest figures come as RNLI lifeguards train and prepare to return to beaches for the 2022 season.

Each year, RNLI lifeguards are involved in carrying out water rescues, administering first aid, providing water safety information and helping to reunite missing children with their families. Over the past few weeks they have been training and practicing their skills in order to be ready for what the upcoming season has in store for them.

The RNLI will carry out its usual lifeguard service this year across the UK and the Channel Islands in its standard phased approach. The first large number of beaches will be put into operation from Saturday April 9, before the Easter holidays, and will join Crosby Beach which is patrolled 365 days a year and three others which started in early April. The number of beaches will gradually increase during the season until the peak of the summer school holidays, when more than 240 beaches will be supervised.

RNLI Seasonal Lifeguard Supervisor Georgia Landy said:

“RNLI Lifeguards are at the forefront of the charity’s lifesaving work as they keep beach visitors safe across the UK and the Channel Islands. Last year’s figures show the importance of our lifeguards and what they do for the public, we expect coastal areas to be just as busy in the coming summer season.

“The RNLI has worked closely with partners and local communities to ensure that beaches and lifeguard units are ready and equipped, and that lifeguard training has been carried out seamlessly.

“Pre-season preparations have gone well and our lifeguards can’t wait to get back to the beaches and do what they do best; offer preventive safety advice to visitors and rescue those in difficulty in the water or on the beach itself.

“However, it is important to remember that our rescuers cannot be everywhere. Our lifeguards will be supported by the charity’s 24/7 lifesaving service and water safety work, but we urge anyone visiting the coast to take responsibility for themselves and their his family this summer.

We have a number of supervised beaches around the coast from the Easter holidays. Find your nearest one at

Gabbi Batchelor, Head of Water Safety Education at RNLI, said:

“Heading to coastal waters is a great way to have fun and stay active, especially in the summer months. But weather conditions can change quickly, and if you’re not careful, you can easily get caught.

“It is important that anyone visiting the coast understands the dangers of the environment. This can be an unpredictable environment, particularly in early summer when the risk of cold water shock increases dramatically, as air temperatures warm but water temperatures remain dangerously cold. We remind anyone entering the water to take extra care and avoid unnecessary risk as early season conditions are more difficult.

The RNLI urges anyone visiting the coast this summer to keep themselves and their families safe by following beach safety advice.

  • Visit a supervised beach and swim between red and yellow flags.
  • Check weather forecasts, tide times and read local danger signs to understand local risks.
  • For activities like paddle boarding or kayaking, we recommend wearing a wetsuit, buoyancy aid or life jacket and carrying a means of calling for help in a waterproof pouch and keeping it on hand. you. Tell someone what you are doing, where you are going and when you expect to return.
  • If you’re going to swim in open water, use a wetsuit to keep warm, wear a brightly colored swim cap, and take a tow float to store your belongings, including a phone in case of an emergency.
  • Keep an eye on your family – on the beach and in the water – don’t leave your family swimming alone.
  • Avoid using inflatables at sea as they can be quickly blown away, especially by offshore winds.
  • If you fall into the water unexpectedly, FLOAT TO LIVE. Fight your instincts to thrash around, lean back, extend your arms and legs, and float.
  • In an emergency, dial 999 and ask for the Coast Guard.


Notes to Editors:

  • * Every two hours on their patrols, RNLI lifeguards estimate the number of people on their beach. They then take the maximum number reached per day and then add all the days together for any required year (or other period).
  • 2021 RNLI Lifeguard Stats:
  • 18,180 incidents
  • 112 lives saved
  • 40,762 people helped
  • 25,469 incident measurements
  • 3,721,079 preventive actions
  • 20,737,057 beach visitors
  • Interviews with RNLI lifeguards are available on request.
  • RNLI Lifeguards patrol Crosby Beach in Formby 365 days a year.
  • At Easter, RNLI lifeguards will be at 53 beaches across the UK and the Channel Islands. This number will increase over the next few months until more than 240 beaches are reached by mid-July.

RNLI Media Contacts

For further information please contact Oliver Wrynne-Simpson, National Media Manager, on 077951 27351 or Chloe Barr, RNLI National Media Engagement Placement, on 07790772788 or contact the National Press Office on 01202 336789.

RNLI Media Contacts

For further information please call Chloe Barr, RNLI National Media Engagement Placement on 01202 336789 or
[email protected]

RNLI Highlights

The charity RNLI saves lives at sea. Its volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service along the coasts of the UK and the Republic of Ireland. The RNLI operates 238 lifeguard stations in the UK and Ireland and over 240 lifeguard units on beaches in the UK and the Channel Islands. The RNLI is independent of the coastguard and government and depends on voluntary donations and legacies to maintain its lifesaving service. Since the RNLI’s inception in 1824, its lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved more than 142,700 lives.

Find out more about the RNLI

For more information, please visit the RNLI website or Facebook, Twitter and Youtube. Press releases, videos and photos are available on the News Center.

Contact the RNLI – public inquiries

Members of the public can contact the RNLI on 0300 300 9990 (UK) or 1800 991802 (Ireland) or by email.