A lifeguard on Sandbanks beach
The lifeguards of Sandbanks
In the height of summer, Sandbanks beach can attract thousands of visitors on a busy day - and it's the RNLI lifeguards' job to watch over them. BBC South's Inside Out followed them at work.
A busy summer's day on one of Dorset's many beaches could see thousands of visitors - and it's the job of the lifeguards to look after them.
Up to 30 lifeguards can be on patrol
On a beach like Sandbanks, in Poole, there could be as many as 30 lifeguards on duty at the busiest times, patrolling a beach up to eight miles long.
Naomi Kelly is the Chief Lifeguard at Sandbanks, and it's a job she loves.
She says: "It's just a great place to work. It's a lifestyle choice I suppose. It started off as a summer job when I was at university and it just carried on.
"You never know what you're going to find, and that keeps you interested in coming into work."
The RNLI lifeboat lookout post
Missing children and first aid
All of the RNLI lifeguards are trained to rescue people in difficulty in the water, but a large percentage of their work involves dealing with missing children and giving first aid.
In the summer as many as 15 children can go missing in one day.
Naomi says: "It can be a massive drain if there's more than one child missing at one time. You can't have all the lifeguards looking for missing children and not watching the water."
There's also a large number of international lifeguards in Dorset. Some return every summer.
Trent, from Australia, is one of them. He says: "Who wouldn't want to come and hang out at the beach and save people?"
Aussie lifeguard Trent
The lifeguards are part of the RNLI, the charity which provides lifeboats and lifeguards around the country.
Lifeguards respond to emergencies on the beach and in the water, up to 300 from the shore.
Watch the report from BBC South's Inside Out programme, as they follow the work of the lifeguards at Sandbanks beach.
last updated: 26/11/2008 at 14:57