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to wonder what the lifeguards were up to? (contains stealth boast)

(16 Posts)
makipuppy Sun 02-Aug-09 22:26:25

DP and I went to the beach today. The tide was very far out, over 100 yards, then it's very shallow for a long way, before dipping deeply. As we were swimming, we notice three young boys who've been dragged out a bit and are starting to panic.

DP starts to swim out to get them. Another guy starts swimming that way too. DP reaches the smallest one and brings him in easily (really not too far). Then the dad of one of the kids arrives, in a massive panic, shouting and berating his child, and starts swimming out, getting there as the other guy reaches the same child. Man leaves dad to it. Child three is doing fine on his own so I just went out a little way so he could see he was nearly in his depth. DP and I then notice that dad is now struggling (he's wearing some kind of track suit top!) so DP goes out again and then it got a bit difficult as Dad is gulping water and shouting help I'm drowning (DP is holding him up), and the kid (about 6) is just petrified. He gets them both back. I had to wade out (I'm 37 weeks and sporting a bikini) to get hold of the child.

Later back at the beach, I see the lifeguard station. There are 6 young lifeguards, two of them texting on their phones, the others are chatting. They are 100 yards from the water and have no chance of seeing anything.

I should have said something to them, right?

So proud of DP!

edam Sun 02-Aug-09 22:30:36

Wow. Dp deserves a very manly pat on the back, as many pints as he wants and some other suitable reward of your devising over which I shall draw a veil in the style of early Mills & Boon. grin

But it's shocking about the lifeguards. WTF?

bratley Sun 02-Aug-09 22:33:02

Firstly, well done to you and DP, what a brave, selfless thing to do.
Yes maybe you should have said something to them but I would probably go a bit further and report the situation, not really sure who too though.
You should say something to stop that happening again to someone else, next time there might not be kind people around to help them.

I think you should find out who is in charge of the lifeguards at that beach and report what happened. Sounds like they need a kick up the bum. Well done on your DH and you.

At some beaches the lifeguards are RNLI lifesuards.

edam Sun 02-Aug-09 22:34:57

Maybe the coastguards would know who is responsible for lifeguards on that beach? Or the council?

makipuppy Sun 02-Aug-09 22:40:04

I think it's a private beach. You have to pay £7 to park. That's a good idea about contacting them.

There was a lifeguard dinghy patrolling the water, and a 4x4 on the beach. But it's a huge stretch of water and these dramas unfold at lightening speed. The water is so shallow for so far lots of parents would think their kids were safe. But even when I waded out I could feel the pull of an undercurrent. DP is a very strong swimmer so I wasn't too worried but he it still took him quite a while to get them back, mainly because the dad was struggling.

Where do you think I start? We'll probably go back there this week.

DP got steak and pudding is nearly ready wink

SecretNinjaChipmunk Sun 02-Aug-09 22:50:10

well done to your dp, and boo hiss to the lifeguards. yes, i'd find out with regards to reporting the lifeguards, that'd be awful if something happened and people like you weren't there to help out.

MmeLindt Sun 02-Aug-09 22:53:33

Well done to your DH and yourself. Do report this to the responsible authority, the next person to get into difficulty might not be so lucky

CarGirl Sun 02-Aug-09 22:56:00

Doesn't the beach have flags up where it's safe to be in the water?

The sea scares me for this very reason!

Silver1 Sun 02-Aug-09 23:02:28

I would report them. Report them to the local lifeboat station who will know who is responsible
As you say these things unfold at the speed of lightening but it is their role to look for these situations not text and chat.
I suspect that they shouldn't all have been bunched together like that but rather in smaller groups patrolling.
YOUR DP was very brave and both of you did really well, but less competent people than you have run into trouble trying to help in the past because they don't have the necessary skills and training that the LGs have. Next time it may not be just 3 swimmers that run into trouble.

makipuppy Sun 02-Aug-09 23:08:19

It looks so safe because the water's really shallow, but there's a shelf that drops away. I didn't see any flags.

I expect by having x lifeguards on duty they're covered with their insurer.

TubOfLardWithInferiorRange Mon 03-Aug-09 00:07:44

It sounds as if the lifeguards may have been distracted from their duties as you have evidence that they were not systematically scanning the swimming area-this is their primary responsibility as far as I know. When you do report the incident you can say that you had first hand experience of the RID factor operating at the beach.

TubOfLardWithInferiorRange Tue 04-Aug-09 19:42:43

makipuppy Wed 05-Aug-09 13:26:19

Thanks Tubs.
The lifeguards were not only not scanning the swimming area, they couldn't even see it. The tide was really far out - you half to walk to about ten minutes to get to the sea. All six of them were in a wooden station built right back on the sand. They were well equipped with walkie talkies so I imagine the idea is if the 4x4 or dinghy spots trouble they can run down. But it's a rubbish idea because it means they're only back-up and there's no sense in having 6 back-up and noone on duty. There's no way the jeep could see from the shore whether someone is happily bobbing or drowning.

I just find it chilling because they would very likely have drowned if someone hadn't done something. And they knew it.

Next time we go I'm going to have a good look at how their lifeguarding works and then ask them how they would expect to be aware of a situation developing.

TubOfLardWithInferiorRange Wed 05-Aug-09 15:27:15

That wooden station should be mobile in order to be picked up and moved in and out with the tide. They should also have both binoculars and a rowboat that they can patrol the outer swimming area with. Failure to have or to use proper equipment constitutes a dereliction of duties and/or negligence IMO.

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