‘Their priority is to save lives and not sell tickets’ - Proposal that Great Yarmouth lifeguards give tourists information

Sheringham, Norwich Beach Lifeguards feature.3of8Picture; Sam RobbinsCopy; Angi KennedyCopyright EDP

Sheringham, Norwich Beach Lifeguards feature.3of8Picture; Sam RobbinsCopy; Angi KennedyCopyright EDPpics 2003 (01603) 772434 - Credit: EDPpics 2003 (01603) 772434

A Norfolk council is proposing that patrolling lifeguards also promote tourism by providing information to visitors.

The idea is due to be aired at a committee meeting of Great Yarmouth Borough Council on Thursday night (March 14), where a report describes arrangements for a new three-year contract between the council and the RNLI, who provide the lifeguards.

The council will fund the service directly, the report recommends, while lifeguards, who patrol the beaches at Hemsby, Gorleston and Great Yarmouth, would be expected to take on a wider role around promoting the borough.

The report states that the council has explored the potential for lifeguards to play a role in promoting the borough to tourists while on patrol.

Under the new arrangement, lifeguards would direct tourists to key events, activities and the tourist information centre.

Councillors have said the proposed changes to the lifeguards’ role is an extension or add-on to what they already do.

However, Andy Grant, chairman of the committee, has said the lifeguards’ priority is to “save lives and not sell tickets”.

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“Their main priority is to their duties and not take away from the lifeguarding,” he said.

Trevor Wainwright, another committee member, said: “It is apparent that a lot of people ask the lifeguards for local information. It is just an extension of that.”

“There will be no change to the service at all,” he said.

The council is also planning to change the way the lifeguards are funded.

The service, provided on three beaches in the borough - Hemsby, Great Yarmouth and Gorleston - is funded partly by the council and the RNLI.

Instead of funding the service from a Great Yarmouth Borough Services joint venture partnership budget, the council will provide the funds directly.

The new set-up would avoid the 4pc overhead added by GYBS, meaning a saving of £1,860 for the council.

Meanwhile, figures have revealed that in 2017 lifeguards were involved in 101 incidents, including seven near misses and one rescue.

Lifeguards took part in four searches and assisted ten people.

They gave minor first aid on 79 occasions and provided major first aid four times.