Due to ongoing recruitment challenges, the RNLI has had to take the decision to change the operational days of Withernsea beach to weekends only.

The East Yorkshire beach will no longer be patrolled on weekdays from Monday 1 August.

Carl Harris, the RNLI's Regional Lifeguard Lead, called it a ‘difficult decision’, but stated that: ‘this move will allow the remaining three East Yorkshire beaches to remain fully operational for seven days a week over the busy summer period.’

Carl added: ‘The weekday suspension of the lifeguard service at Withernsea will hopefully be a temporary measure as the charity continues to train lifeguards for the positions.’

During the reduced service, the lifeguard team will be working closely with the local RNLI lifeboat stations as well as HM Coastguard. Withernsea RNLI lifeboat station remains fully operational and ready to respond. Extra mitigations will be in place along Withernsea beach, including additional safety signage and signs advising people that the beach will be only lifeguarded on weekends.

When visiting Withernsea beach, beachgoers are advised to follow all safety signage advice, check the tide times before visiting, and if they do get into difficulty to call 999 and ask for the Coastguard.

The charity would encourage all beachgoers, where possible, to choose a lifeguarded beach in the East Yorkshire area this summer. RNLI lifeguard patrols will be undertaken seven days a week at Bridlington North, Bridlington South and Hornsea beaches.

For a full list of RNLI lifeguarded beaches please visit: rnli.org/find-my-nearest

If you do find yourself in trouble when visiting the coast: 

Withernsea Town Council have issued this statement in response to the announcement:

Withernsea Town Council has just been made aware of the withdrawal of the RNLI lifeguards on Withernsea beach.

It seems that we are to lose the lifeguards here in Withernsea on weekdays so that Bridlington North & South & Hornsea can retain their cover for 7 days a week. This decision has been implemented practically overnight, with no consultation, even our own Ward Councillors were not aware of the situation. It is understandable that changes may need to be made due to staffing issues, but they should be fairly applied, with notice.

We are very disappointed that the East Riding of Yorkshire Council foreshores team has not raised this before the final decision was made. This decision will undoubtedly take people away from our town during the busy summer months, where they will use Hornsea or Bridlington guarded beaches. Of course public safety is of paramount importance, our town is busy with lots of visitors now, and cover is needed here too.

We are now in discussions with ERYC to see what they can do to address the problem & make sure that Withernsea beach can have as much lifeguard cover as possible. It seems unfair that it is ours that has suffered the full effect of the cuts – whilst the rest remain unchanged. Discussions are ongoing.

An East Riding of Yorkshire Council spokesperson said:

“We are disappointed that the RNLI are unable to meet their contractual agreement with us,  and we will continue to work with them, to attempt to improve the service provision during the holiday period. 

“We are aware that the RNLI have run recruitment drives leading up to the summer period, culminating in their running a course last week, which unfortunately all candidates failed to pass. We were informed of this at short notice and have worked with the RNLI to find a resolution, but with no joy. We realise that recruitment is a significant national issue at the moment, in many areas and in many jobs and roles.

“The beach at Withernsea will still have full lifeguard cover on all weekends throughout the summer.

“The beach is still safe to use and this does not detract from its appeal; however we advise all users to do so with their own personal safety in mind. “