The RNLI is currently working through the updated guidance delivered by the UK Prime Minister on Monday (May 11), and will be engaging with a number of watersport governing bodies and other stakeholders to help inform its response.

Following changes in Government guidance for England, which allows people to travel to the coast and use the water, many people may choose to participate in water-based activities such as swimming, kayaking, surfing, boating and angling from tomorrow (Wednesday, May 12).

In Cornwall beaches normally covered by RNLI lifeguards include Praa Sands, Sennen, Porthmeor, Hayle Towans, Gwithian, Porthtowan, Perranporth, Fistral, Towan, Watergate Bay, Mawgan Porth, Constantine, Harlyn, Polzeath, Widemouth and Summerleaze, amongst others.

Falmouth Packet:

Perranporth : Busy Perran Beach (taken nine years ago)

Read more: Lifeguards removed from Cornish beaches with immediate effect

The charity is warning beach visitors that at present there are no RNLI lifeguards on beaches and although volunteer lifeboat crews are fully operational, should they be needed, it is important that anyone visiting the coast understands the risk and takes the necessary steps to keep themselves safe.

This will also help to reduce the demands placed on lifeboat crews and other emergency services including HM Coastguard.

The RNLI normally patrols over 240 beaches around the coast, however, rollout of the normal seasonal lifeguard service was paused at the end of March due to the measures put in place by the UK Government to control the spread of Coronavirus.

The charity is currently working with local authorities and beach owners in the hope that it can provide a lifeguard service on around 30 per cent of the beaches usually covered this summer.

However, re-establishing this infrastructure and distributing equipment to beaches will take time. The charity must also make sure that conditions are safe for lifeguards to provide an effective service.

Read more: More than 50 surfers at popular Cornish beach flout plea from RNLI to stay out of the water

They have issued the following safety advice:

  • Take care near cliffs - know your route and your limitations
  • Have a plan - check the weather forecast and tide times
  • 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
  • If boating ensure your equipment is functioning and maintained
  • In any coastal emergency dial 999 or 112 and ask for the Coastguard.