LIFESAVERS will be patrolling the busiest beaches in Bognor Regis from Saturday.
For the first time the RNLI lifeguards will be out in force during the peak season, making sure the beaches to the east and west of the town’s pier are kept safe.
Lifeguard supervisor Olly Cona said: “We are excited to be coming to Bognor Regis. It is a new beach for us and we are looking forward to meeting the people who use it.
“As lifeguards, a lot of what we do is prevention so I would encourage people to come and talk to us if they see us.
“We will be here in the peak season, which is from July 5 to September 7, for seven days a week.
“We will be here if people need us, hopefully they won’t, but we will be here.”
The lifeguards will set up base in two brand-new units which have been placed on the single.
From there they will be able to keep an eye on swimmers and other hazards which could cause concerns.
Lifeguard manager for the south east Rory Smith said: “We are absolutely looking forward to coming to Bognor Regis.
“The RNLI is the charity that saves lives at sea and we are delighted to be running the lifeguard service on behalf of Arun District Council in Bognor Regis.”
The charity currently looks after 200 beaches in the UK and Northern Ireland, and last year dealt with some 19,500 incidents on the beaches and helped nearly 22,500 people.
Mr Smith said it was decided to start the service, which will operate from 10am-6pm each day in peak season, in the town after a risk assessment on the beach was undertaken, adding that putting in lifeguards was the final step.
“When the beach was visited, the hazards and potential hazards were looked at.
“We looked at what could be done to improve safety on the beach. This could include just looking at the signage and working with the local authority the public rescue equipment available.
“It was then decided there was a need and that having lifeguards in Bognor would be a benefit,” said Mr Smith.
The RNLI has a five-year contract with the district council to run the service, but Mr Smith said this would be reviewed.
To celebrate the arrival of the lifeguards, a special launch event was held on Monday.
The chairman of Arun District Council Dougal Maconachie was given a tour of one of the new units and got to see the lifeguards in action when they took to the water for a demonstration.
Cllr Maconachie said: “It is very exciting to have the lifeguard service in Bognor Regis, it has been in Littlehampton for a while so it is good Bognor is getting the same.
“The beach is already very popular, but with this added service hopefully it will encourage more families to come to the beach and into the town.
“Hopefully they will be here to stop any incidents and will help to save lives.”