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Call for more lifeguards on Belgian coast

10:13 03/07/2024

Lifeguards have warned that it is becoming increasingly difficult to find new recruits and fill all the positions needed to ensure safe monitored swimming on the Belgian coast.

To guarantee safety on Belgian beaches, some 1,400 lifeguards are needed, Nieuwpoort head lifeguard Thomas Vereecke told RTL.

Vereecke said people in charge of lifeguard teams are finding it increasingly difficult to recruit staff, and that this jeopardises beach safety.

“Because of this shortage, we have to work with reduced teams,” he said. “As a result, we have a lot of work to do and there are not as many lifeguard posts to look after the beach. Safety remains our priority and we don’t want there to be too few of us in the future.”

For now, there are fewer and fewer lifeguards and most of them are students. To help, special sessions are being organised to introduce eight to 16-year-olds to basic lifesaving skills, even in grey and cold weather.

The aim of this course is to prepare these children to be able to become lifeguards in future, a skill that Vereecke emphasised is starting to be in short supply in the country.

Written by Liz Newmark