Littlehampton lifeboat station issues statement on Camber Sands drowning

Littlehampton RNLI launching earlier this year
Littlehampton RNLI launching earlier this year

The Littlehampton lifeboat station has addressed questions over why the RNLI did not provide lifeguards at the beach where five men died earlier this week.

The RNLI lifeboat charity has faced questions over why lifeguarding services were not already provided at Camber Sands in the days following the deaths of the men in their teens and 20s.

The charity has since announced that it will be deploying a team of 5-6 lifeguards and appropriate equipment to Camber Sands over the bank holiday weekend.

Speaking on its Facebook page. a spokesperson for the Littlehampton station said:

“We’ve been asked several times why the RNLI didn’t already provide a lifeguard service at Camber.”

The station said that councils normally contact them in order to organise lifeguarding services:

“The RNLI provides a lifeguard service where the local authority has asked it to, a contracted service with some of the costs borne by the local authority.”

Following this week’s incident, a Rother District Council spokesman said:

“Regular assessments are carried out at Camber beach, along with the RNLI, to inform what measures need to be taken to guide visitor safety and ensure the beach is safe. To date this has not identified the need for lifeguards to be deployed at the beach and there have never been lifeguards employed at the beach.

“We are in regular discussion with emergency services and other colleagues to ensure that the measures currently in place are sufficient and identify any additional measures that may need to be taken, either in terms of arrangements at the beach or doing more to educate people of the dangers of the sea.

“Rother District Council provide beach patrols who are on site throughout the summer and are able to advise people of the dangers of the sea, reunite lost children and deal with any incidents on the beach, including performing first aid. These patrols are supported over the summer months by Sussex Police.

“Our thoughts remain with the family and friends of those who have lost their lives.”

The RNLI provides lifeguard cover at more than 240 beaches throughout the UK, with Littlehampton the 200th beach.

Since it was set up in 1824 the 95 per cent volunteer staffed service has saved at least 140,000 lives.