SPECIAL FEATURE: RNLI lifeguard Tom Colling highlights the qualities needed to take on the role

A RNLI Bridlington lifeguard has spoken about the challenges and rewards of the position.

Thursday, 8th July 2021, 2:30 pm
Ben Colling, who is part of the Filey Lifeboat Crew, is one of the RNLI’s youngest Ops Commands lifeguards. Photo: RNLI/Derry Salter

Ben Colling, one of the RNLI’s youngest Ops Commands lifeguards, highlighted the importance of level-headedness when being a lifeguard.

He also underlined the importance of fitness, especially when it comes to caring for casualties, with crash bags weighing a significant amount.

He said: “You need to be level-headed because most days you will be in a difficult and busy situation. Being a lifeguard has taught me to remain calm in all situations and take a step back and think before I make any choices.

“Being a lifeguard is rewarding and has many development opportunities.”

Ben, who is also part of the Filey lifeboat crew, added: “I love being in the middle of everything and interacting with people on a daily basis.

“It’s a very public facing role. It’s challenging of course but being an RNLI lifeguard really gives you a purpose.”

An RNLI spokesman said: “Being an RNLI lifeguard is demanding both physically and mentally, but above all it is rewarding.

“Training to be a lifeguard is extensive. First, all applicants must undergo a health assessment to ensure they are physically capable of the job.

“This comes in handy when the trainees must complete a 400m pool swim in under 7.5 minutes as well as 200m run in under 40 seconds. Vehicle training is also essential for newbie lifeguards; some undergo an all-terrain vehicle course or a four-wheel drive course.

“Training on an inshore rescue boat is also vital as it provides lifeguards will the skills required to operate the boat in the water.

“Trainee lifeguards experience a series of staged scenarios which lets them put their knowledge to the test, meaning all the lifeguards are raring to go on the first day of the lifeguard season. However, this training does not stop when the season starts.

“Lifeguards must keep up their fitness throughout the summer by going to the pool regularly to undertake more fitness tests whilst going on runs every day.”

Go to summerjobs.rnli.org/become-a-lifeguard to find out more about becoming a lifeguard.