Blackpool's own 'Baywatch' team back in training for summer season

If you were around in the 1990s the chances are you'll have seen the bronzed bodies of the Baywatch lifeguards on TV.

Tuesday, 6th June 2017, 5:02 pm
Updated Thursday, 8th June 2017, 3:28 pm
Lifeguards in training
Lifeguards in training

The hit show, starring David Hasselhoff and Pamela Anderson, has now been given the Hollywood reboot treatment, Dwayne Johnson and Zac Efron leading the line up in a big screen revival.

But what is life really like for lifeguards patrolling the Golden Mile rather than the sun-drenched beaches of California?

Beach Patrol Manager, Richard Williams, has the answer

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Blackpool's beach patrol

He said: “The work of the real Beach Patrol is much tougher than the big screen suggests.

“Our Beach Patrol members are dedicated professionals who have passed one of the toughest assessment processes around.

“We insist on the recruitment process being tough because we have to have confidence that when they’re up against it, our Beach Patrol team will remain professional, calm and committed to helping visitors on our beaches.

“As a result, our Beach Patrol team is among the very best in the world at what it does.”

The 1930s beach patrol

With millions expected to head to Blackpool this summer to enjoy the golden sands, safety is at the forefront on the seafront.

The resort’s Beach Patrol team have recently recruited additional staff for the summer season and have been busy running dedicated training sessions for them.

Blackpool’s beach lifeguards are trained to an incredibly high standard together with an in house, on-going competency-based training programme throughout the season, which encompasses incident response exercises, fitness drills and first aid training.

Among the most recent additions to the Beach Patrol team are 24-year-old PE teacher, Joe Matthews, from Lytham and 21-year-old LIPA music student, Jess Cunnah, from Cleveleys – both are returning for their fourth season on patrolWe

Blackpool's beach patrol

Jess said: “We’ve all been away over the winter so it’s good to come back and get out heads back into it.

“There’s a lot to remember.

“It’s hopefully going to be a busy season so we have to be prepared.”

Joe said: “One of the big problems is the sanbanks.

The 1930s beach patrol

“People can end up getting stranded by the tide.

“If they are weak swimmers getting them back in can be a challenge. They could be stuck a mile out.”

Last year the Beach Patrol assisted members of the public, with issues ranging from cut fingers to incoming tides.

As well as assisting with the Lost Children’s Department at major events including Blackpool Air Show and the famous Blackpool Illuminations, the team has also been utilised to provide beach and water safety cover for Tim Burton’s big screen movie – Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children, starring Samuel L Jackson, which was filmed in the resort.

Alan Cavill, Blackpool Council Director responsible for Tourism, said: “For the second year running, Blackpool has been awarded the Blue Flag Beach Award at South Beach due to its water quality, cleanliness and public safety, placing the seaside resort’s beach amongst some of the top in the world.

“It’s a fantastic boost for the resort’s tourism. With those increasing visitor numbers here in Blackpool, the Beach Patrol team is preparing for one of its busiest years yet.

“We can assure all visitors that Blackpool’s beaches will be among the safest in the world this summer – our Beach Patrol will make sure of that.”