Page last updated at 14:26 GMT, Sunday, 5 April 2009 15:26 UK

RNLI lifeguards save council cash

Beach lifeguards
The RNLI is now recruiting lifeguards

Two councils in the North East are hoping to save thousands of pounds a year by taking on a charity to provide lifeguard duty for their beaches.

This summer RNLI lifeguards will patrol Sandhaven in South Tyneside and Seaburn and Roker beaches in Sunderland.

South Tyneside will save £10,000 a year transferring responsibility to the charity and Sunderland Council will also make savings, the RNLI said.

The RNLI is now looking to recruit qualified lifeguards in the two areas.

Matt Horton, RNLI Divisional lifeguard inspector, said: "We are delighted that these two forward-thinking local authorities have taken steps to bring the RNLI's quality lifeguard training and equipment to their beaches."

Staff training

Each council currently employs up to 17 lifeguards for the 16-week high season, running from May until September.

A spokeswoman for South Tyneside Council said: "The council will transfer the existing seasonal lifeguard staffing budget over to the RNLI so this will be cost neutral.

"There will however be long-term savings associated with the maintenance of lifeguard stations, purchase of equipment and staff training as the RNLI will take responsibility for these.

"It is difficult to gauge exactly the figures involved however it is likely to be approximately £10,000 per annum."

More than 100 beaches in England are patrolled by the RNLI.

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