Page last updated at 15:20 GMT, Wednesday, 9 April 2008 16:20 UK

RNLI seeks hundreds of lifeguards

Beach lifeguards
Demand for lifeguards is particularly high in north Cornwall

The RNLI says it desperately needs more qualified lifeguards after taking over more local beaches than they have before in the South West.

In the past the charity provided lifeguards at 65 beaches in Devon, Cornwall and Dorset.

But now two Cornish councils, Kerrier and Penwith, have handed over lifeguard cover to the RNLI.

It means there are now 87 beaches which need lifeguards and the RNLI needs 258 new recruits.

Demand high

Steve Instance, RNLI divisional inspector for lifeguards, said: "The RNLI are lucky to have a high number of lifeguards returning year on year.

"However there is always a natural movement of some to go off and pursue other careers after a couple seasons on the beach.

"This year the trend is coupled with the demand to man 22 additional beaches in Cornwall, leading to opportunities for new and returning guards lifeguards all over the South West."

Demand is particularly high along the north coast of Cornwall and the Restormel area, including nine beaches around Newquay.

Other areas in need include South Hams in Devon, Dorset and east Devon.

The main qualifications are a high level of fitness and potential applicants must hold a nationally recognised beach lifeguard qualification.

However, the RNLI are also offering suitable candidates the opportunity to achieve a basic life guarding qualification by attending an intensive training course.

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