The RNLI’s lifeguard service is to be extended to Ballycastle beach after Causeway Coast & Glens Council voted to bring in a new agreement with the charity to cover seven beaches in the area.
The decision was taken at Tuesday’s meeting of the Leisure and Development Committee and will have to be ratified at a full Council meeting later in the month.
Members heard that since 2010, Benone Strand, Downhill Strand, Castlerock, Portrush’s East and West Strands and the Whiterocks beach have all been covered by a RNLI beach lifeguard service. As part of the service, the beach lifeguiards were operational during Easter, weekends and Bank Holidays in May and June and also daily from late June and into early September.
Council officers had also asked the RNLI to monitor other sites along the Causeway Coast to assess priority beaches where further lifeguard service provision may be appropriate.
Council Head of Tourism and Recreation Peter Thompson told the meeting: “After consideraion, officers believe that there is sufficient usage and visitor numbers at Ballycastle to warrant an extension of service to include the seafront beach.
“A new agreement is now recommended between Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council and RNLI. This would be on the basis of a single tender action based on the premises that they are the only known provider for this type of service.
“Council approval is sought to issue a new agreement and contract for services whereby RNLI are engaged for the provision of beach lifeguarding at the beaches outlined for a five year period up until December 2020.
“Members are also asked to provide approval to extended the RNLI beach lifeguard service to Ballycastle during July and August for the same contracted period at a cost of £12,176.40.
“Total costs for the service in 20126 is anticipated to be £128,408 subject to contract agreement (including Ballycastle).”
Members were also told, during a presentation from the RNLI, that eleven lives have been saved since the service began on local beaches.
The recommendations were passed by members.