Councillor Ivor Wallace visited East Strand in Portrush, one of eight locations in the Borough to benefit from a lifeguard patrol throughout the year.
Commending those who have worked throughout the season to keep people safe, he said: “Our beautiful beaches are one of our Borough’s most important attractions, and it has been fantastic to see so many visitors enjoying them during the summer.
“This has made for a very busy number of months, and on behalf of all our visitors and the local community I want to offer my gratitude to our lifeguards for their swift action in times of need, and their reassuring presence.
“Earlier this year, Causeway Coast and Glens secured six Blue Flags and two Seaside Awards, and this success is testament to our excellent water-quality standards and facilities, which includes lifeguard provision. The RNLI plays a vital role in ensuring our coastal offering is of the highest standard, and it is important that we recognise this.
“I want to remind beach-goers that daily lifeguard provision has now ended, and the weekend service in Benone, Portstewart and Portrush will finish up this weekend (September 25) so if you’re planning on going into the water when lifeguards aren’t present, please don’t take any risks and do all you can to keep yourself as safe as possible.
“Our coastal areas are appealing places at all times of the year, but it is vital to show respect for the water and recognise the dangers that exist. Thank you once again to our lifeguards, and I look forward to seeing their signature red and yellow flags back on our beaches once again next year.”
Encouraging people to put safety first, Regional Lifeguard Lead, Michael Thompson said: “While we can expect our beaches to be quieter heading into autumn and winter, there will be people using the water for activities such as surfing and kitesurfing. In the absence of RNLI lifeguards during this period, we would encourage visitors while enjoying themselves, to be mindful that the water will be colder, and the sea can be dangerously unpredictable.
“Taking basic precautions can greatly reduce the risk of getting into difficulty and improve one’s chance of being found quickly should they need rescuing. We urge beach visitors to come dressed appropriately to ensure your visit is both safe and enjoyable. Before you head out, always check weather and tide times, let someone know where you are going and when you are due back, and carry a means of communication such as a mobile phone in a waterproof pouch.
“For activities like paddleboarding, we’d recommend you wear a wetsuit, as it will keep you warm in an emergency. Wearing an appropriate buoyancy aid or lifejacket is also vital. If you get into difficulty or see someone else in trouble, please call 999 or 112 and ask for the Coastguard. People can also get advice at their local RNLI lifeboat station.”