RNLI Lifeguards are clamouring to return to service as beach fatalities pile up and the charity’s office staff refuse to send them back to work.

Staff formed a UK Lifeguard Solidarity Group to petition online three weeks ago.

And the beach-front movement has been warning since its inception that the RNLI refusing to man the beaches because of Covid will lead to deaths.

The RNLI’s administrators refused to allow staff to go back to work after the initial lockdown lift on May 11th.

They said they had to “make sure that conditions are safe for lifeguards to provide an effective service.”

They also claimed: “Re-establishing this infrastructure and distributing equipment to beaches will take time.”

But lifeguards beachside are having none of it and more than 11,000 members of the public have signed their petition begging to go back to the beach-front.

Stefan Harkon is one of the Cornish lifeguards who want to get back to work

As early as May 12th Cornish members of the group posted “Things are going to get incredibly serious unless Lifeguards can protect our communities.”

The post was in response to news St Agnes lifeboat was being called out several times in one day.

Lifeguards on the ground also want the Govt to help turn the situation around by including them in the Furlough scheme.

A spokesman explained at ‘change.org: “Our safety critical role will need to resume immediately once restrictions are lifted in order to prevent loss of life.

“This is the sole purpose of furlough, to allow essential services to resume swiftly once the restrictions lift.”

The spokesman continued – in what the tragic events of this Bank Holiday proved to be a prophetic tone: “When beaches are inevitably reopened and travel restrictions loosened – domestic tourism will likely see a huge upsurge in demand.

“Busy beaches will have limited or no lifeguard provision at all.

“This could be magnified by the loss of experienced guards and the difficulty in recruiting new guards in a short time-frame.”

Cornwall Council leader Julian German says the authority are restrained from posting lifeguards by the RNLI Charity’s national decision.

The independent councillor says talks are ongoing.

Meanwhile coastguards have been dealing with a significant upsurge of activity since the lockdown lift.

A spokesman posted: “This week saw the busiest day of the year so far, with coastguards being called out to 152 incidents and rescuing 119 people who found themselves in trouble on Wednesday.

“Now, more than ever, people need to respect the coastline.

“The majority of beaches are not currently lifeguarded, making it even more vital to take extra care in these extraordinary times.”

You can support the grass-roots RNLI lifeguards group by signing their petition online, following their Facebook page or signing up to their Twitter Feed at #RETURNTOSHORE

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