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New beach scheme for RNLI guards

23 June 08 13:17 GMT

RNLI lifeguards have begun an intensive training programme, as they gear up to patrol some of Wales' most popular beaches for the first time.

They will operate on some of Pembrokeshire's beaches from Poppit Sands to Amroth.

The charity has teamed up with Pembrokeshire council to take on lifeguard cover at 12 beaches, the first such partnership in Wales.

The service will commence on 28 June and will run for a 10 week period.

The training, which began on Monday allowed the new recruits to pick up skills such as rescue techniques, First Aid and developing fitness.

Although the charity operates 31 lifeboat stations in Wales, the lifeguard units in Pembrokeshire will be a Welsh first.

Neil Thomas, RNLI Divisional Lifeguard Manager for Wales said: "This is a really exciting time for the RNLI charity.

"The RNLI lifeguards are all working really hard and are making fantastic progress with the RNLI training programme," he added.

Mr Thomas added over 7,000 people got into "serious difficulties" on UK beaches annually.

"RNLI lifeguards will be equipped to deal with both minor and major incidents, rescues, lost children and will have the back up of all emergency services," he said.

"They will be working along side the Coastguard and RNLI lifeboats to provide a seamless rescue service from the beach to the open sea."

The role of the RNLI beach lifeguards will also focus on prevention and ensuring people are aware of the dangers at the beach.

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