Our Lifeguard Patrols

Club volunteers are providing lifeguard patrols at Trevaunance Cove. The type and timing of patrols will depend on volunteer availability and we are trying to target our efforts at higher risk times.

Our volunteers have the training and local knowledge to offer advice that we hope will help people to keep themselves safe. Should an incident develop, they can act as an important contact for the emergency services, relaying the accurate information they need to deliver the best response.

These patrols save lives. If you can be a part of this effort, please consider doing so.

Trevaunance Cove Patrols

When are we doing this?

We’ve split every day into 2 shifts. You can book any shift you like but tide, surf, weather and human factors will mean that covering certain shifts are likely to have a greater impact than others. If you are flexible, please consider filling higher impact shifts first.

Who can take part?

Surveillance Patrols
A surveillance patrol (Type 1) can be lead by someone who has done the SLSGB Coastal Surveillance training or holds a current beach lifeguard award. The surveillance patrol is focussed on prevention and early recognition with appropriate escalation. A surveillance patrol does not establish a bathing area (red and yellow flags). Although a surveillance patrol can be done by an individual, having 2 or more people on patrol is much easier going and facilitates knowledge sharing.

Full Patrols
A full patrol (Type 4) requires a minimum of 2 qualified lifeguards, at least 1 person with the patrol captain award and at least 1 person with the RNLI Cas Care / SLSGB First Responder award. Patrol members also need to make an assesment of their capability and confidence in the conditions before establishing a bathing area. If in doubt, go observational!

Patrol Team
Patrolling alone is risky and we encourage other people to join the patrol. To join the patrol you need to hold a lifeguard or coastal surveillance award.

If there is sufficient interest, we can run an SLSGB Coastal Surveillance Award that will prepare you to assist with these patrols. This course is also a great way to review the basics of beach safety that could help keep you and your family safe at the beach and improve your ability to recognise an emergency and confidence to respond in the best possible way.

Overview of SLSGB Coastal Surveillance Course

What will I be doing?

Before your shift…

  • Wear suitable clothes for the weather: don’t forget sunglasses and sunblock.
  • If you have a hi-vis tabard + kit from a previous shift, remember these!
  • A waterproof watch is useful.
  • Take a drink / snacks if required.
  • We still ask that patrol members carry a facemask as you may be interacting with vulnerable individuals. So please bring your own facemask if possible.
  • Speak to the patrol organiser to talk through the role.

Starting a shift…

  • Put on clean patrol uniform:
    On a surveillance (Type-1) patrol we simply use a hi-vis tabard.
    On a full (Type-4) patrol we use lifeguard uniform.
  • Grab a whistle and stick a pair of gloves in your pocket – these are your to keep!
  • Sterilise shared equipment: Binos, phone, radio using the wipes provided.
  • Phone the coastguard to register the patrol. The number is on the wall by the phone: “Hello this is St Agnes Surf Club. We are running a Type # patrol until 17:00”.

During a shift…

  • Ensure you are contactable by coastguard at all times: landline handset has quite good coverage but if you are happy using the VHF radio this has excellent coverage.
  • Put up signs or use the red flag as appropriate.
  • MONITOR from a location where you can see what’s going on whilst maintaining communication .
  • ADVISE people politely if they are putting themselves or others at risk.
  • THINK AHEAD what might happen? what would I do? – see our Emergency Action Plans (EAP) for ideas.
  • ESCALATE any emergency or developing situation to the coastguard.
  • Record hourly stats on patrol log.

Ending a shift…

  • Complete the patrol log.
  • Phone coastguard to log out.
  • Sanitise shared equipment: Binos, phone, radio.
  • Drop your uniform in the used uniform box (or keep it if you are on shift again soon).
  • Take your whistle & gloves with you.
  • Check the club is locked up.

What if …

Lifeguards are trained to assess risk and provide help through intervention where possible. The additional risks of COVID-19 transmission mean that, for both our own safety and the safety of those we are trying to help, we need to review how we react in an emergency.

… someone needs minor first aid?

Keep your distance >2 metres, if possible
Offer patient / patient’s family use of a bagged first aid kit and offer them advice to self help.

… someone is in difficulty?

Call the coastguard: phone 999 or use radio channel 16.
Stay calm, speak slowly and try to give information in an organised way (Position, Problem, People) rather than as a narrative.

ONLY IF you are qualified + capable in the conditions, then:
– Ensure communication with coastguard is maintained at all times.
– Assess risks and make a plan, put the safety of your self, your team and the public above the safety of the patient. Remember that stabilising the situation or preparing for the arrival of other services can often be a better response than attempting a rescue.
– If risks can be controlled:
– STOP, consider full PPE.
– Follow resus council guidance on COVID modified Primary Survey.

… I try to help but people wont follow my advice?

A lifeguard does not have the authority to prevent someone going in the sea. We can only do our best to inform their decision making. The best way to achieve this is to stay calm and present the facts. It’s super important this is kept very neutral, don’t get yourself into a confrontation situation

Why are we doing this?

It’s much easier to control risks when working on a preventative basis than in the response phase of a rescue. Prevention and early intervention reduces the likelihood of an incident developing that might put our coastguard, lifeboat and ambulance crews in situations where risks are MUCH harder to control.

Further Reading

Our patrol documentation can be read in the shared folder, here:

We’re constantly looking to develop our patrol framework, so welcome feedback and new ideas.