Surf’s up for a safety lesson

Sunderland RNLI lifeguards and pupils from New Silksworth Junior School during the Hit the Surf session at Seaburn.
Sunderland RNLI lifeguards and pupils from New Silksworth Junior School during the Hit the Surf session at Seaburn.
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EAGER young lifesavers hit the surf to learn vital sea safety lessons.

Children from schools across Wearside took part in the special training sessions with RNLI lifeguards.

The programme, which is now in its third year, was delivered to more than 600 pupils from 22 primary schools over three weeks.

The sessions at Seaburn beach combined theory and practical lessons in popular activities such as bodyboarding.

Aimed at helping children aged from eight to 12 feel more confident at the coast, they have been hailed a success by organisers.

Ben Mitchell, RNLI beach safety supervisor, said: “Hit the Surf is a fun and active programme for the children to get involved in, but it also carries some very important messages about how to stay safe in the surf and what to do should they find themselves in difficulty.

“Bodyboarding is particularly popular with children, so we want to make sure they have the right skills and knowledge to be able to enjoy themselves but keep safe.”

Pupils participating in Hit the Surf are taught about the role of lifeguards; key beach hazards to look out for; the meaning of the beach safety flags; and what to do if they find themselves in trouble in the water.

Ben said: “It’s a really interactive way of teaching children vital beach safety messages.

“It also complements the work of RNLI lifeguards in Sunderland who deliver beach safety messages throughout the summer season in school assemblies, to community groups and at the beach.”

@SunEchoJohnston

Sea safety tips:

l Wherever possible, always swim at a lifeguarded beach. Go to www.goodbeachguide.co.uk to search for listings throughout the UK;

l Always read and obey the safety signs, usually found at the beach entrance;

l When on a lifeguarded beach, find the red and yellow flags and always swim or bodyboard between them – this area is patrolled by lifeguards;

l Never swim alone;

l If you see someone in difficulty, never attempt a rescue. Tell a lifeguard, or, if you can’t see a lifeguard, call 999 or 112 and ask for the Coastguard.