Lifeguard patrols for Sidmouth beach?

Members of the Sidmouth Surf Life Saving Club give a demonstration of their skills on Saturday. Phot

Members of the Sidmouth Surf Life Saving Club give a demonstration of their skills on Saturday. Photo by Simon Horn. Ref shs 9503-30-14SH To order your copy of this photograph go to and click on Photo Orders - Credit: Archant

Safety scheme could pave the way for town’s young lifesavers

A national water safety scheme, which aims to cut the number of young people drowning on Britain’s coast, could pave the way for lifeguard patrols on Sidmouth beach.

Surf Life Saving GB (SLSGB) has launched the graduate lifeguard programme to get teens spreading the word about water safety in their schools and clubs.

Sidmouth Surf Lifesaving Club is already committed to developing the skills of its members - and chairman Dave Manley is keen to get them involved.

“This programme is a very useful tool for us to use to develop our older members to become volunteer and professional beach lifeguards,” he said.

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“The club has aspirations to provide beach patrols at Sidmouth and the graduate scheme will help prepare future young lifeguards to make this a reality – along with giving them employment opportunities.”

The scheme is aimed at tackling the growing number of people drowning along the UK coast – a high proportion of whom are under 16.

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The graduate lifeguard programme prepares 14- to 16-year-olds to become qualified surf lifeguards and could also feed into Duke of Edinburgh or Sports Leaders awards.

Youngsters who sign up will embark on a three-year programme and undertake 12 units covering surf lifesaving skills, first aid, beach safety and personal development.

SLSGB chairman Pete Lawrence said: “Most drowning is preventable, but young people need to be equipped with some water safety awareness to avoid getting into dangerous situations.

“Our graduate lifeguards are tasked with delivering this message and we feel peer to peer is the most effective way of doing this.”

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