Portsmouth Lifeguards is committed to providing water and lifesaving advice to the whole community. This page has information available to you, with some basic lifesaving techniques both in and out of the water and some information you might find useful when visiting a lifeguarded beach.
Basic lifesaving techniques
Our goal as a club is to save lives and educate the public. Here are some videos and articles on basic lifesaving techniques.
CPR (Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation)
Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation is an emergency procedure consisting of chest compressions. In the video below it will show you what to do if such an event should occur.
Choking – Adult & Child
Choking is when a persons airway becomes blocked and they cannot breathe normally, it can be a life threatening situation. Below is a video showing what to do if this situation should occur.
The recovery position is used when a casualty is unconscious and they are breathing normally with no other life threatening injuries. The video below demonstrates the recovery position.
At lifeguarded beaches, you will see flags up. It’s important to know what the flags mean, as they can indicate whether it’s safe to go in the water or not, and which activity it is safe to do, and where. If you’re ever unsure, talk to one of our lifeguards.
The red flag indicates danger. The conditions are too dangerous for people to swim.
DO NOT ENTER THE WATER WHEN THIS FLAG IS FLYING!
Red and yellow flags
Red and yellow flags show lifeguards are on duty. The area between two red and yellow flags on the beach shows the safest place for swimming.
The orange windsock
The windsock indicates the wind is blowing offshore. This makes it dangerous to use inflatables as they may be blown out to sea.
DO NOT USE INFLATABLES WHEN THIS FLAG IS FLYING!
This indicates a lost child in our care.
Tide rising flag
This indicates the tide is rising know as flooding. The blue at the top indicates water rising.
Tide falling flag
This indicates the tide is falling know as ebbing. The blue at bottom indicates water falling.
Black and white flag
The black and white flag is used to create a zone for hard craft.
Head to a lifeguarded beach
On a lifeguarded beach there are trained professionals to help keep you and your family safe – they will be on hand if something goes wrong, in or out of the water. If you have any questions, or want advice on staying safe, our lifeguards are happy to help.
Spot the dangers
Always follow the water safety code;
Swim where there is a lifeguard on patrol and within a zoned area of red/yellow flags.
Check out the beach when you arrive
Take care when bathing and swimming
Beware of rocks, piers, groynes / breakwaters
Be aware of dangerous rip currents
Inflatable toys and airbeds can easily be swept out to sea. Seek advice from lifeguards to check if the beach and conditions are suitable. If there is an offshore wind, don’t go out on inflatables. On a lifeguarded beach, look out for the orange windsock and don’t use inflatables if it’s flying.
If you do use inflatables at the beach:
Ensure children are closely supervised
Keep near the shore
Only use between the red and yellow flags
Follow the lifeguard’s advice
Do not take out in big waves
Never use them when the orange windsock is flying
Don’t go in Alone
Swim with a friend – never go on your own. Make sure there are other people around – you never know when help might be needed.
Swim where there is a lifeguard on patrol and within a zoned area of red/yellow flags. Look out for information – warning signs and flags. Never swim where a sign says not to, or when a red flag is flying. Listen and take advice from lifeguards.
Know what to do if your child goes missing at the beach
Children are safest when supervised. As soon as you get to a beach, agree a meeting point in case of separation. If the beach runs a children’s safety scheme, using wristbands or tickets, take part. Make sure your children know where the lifeguards are, and that if they find themselves lost, to go and find a lifeguard.
If a child does go missing:
Calmly check your surroundings first, ensuring other children remain supervised
Check the lifeguard hut to see if a pink flag is flying
Contact the lifeguards or police and keep them informed
Let all searchers know once the child is found
How to help
If you see someone in difficulty, tell somebody, preferably a lifeguard if there is one nearby, or go to the nearest telephone ☎, dial 999, ask for the coastguard. Never go in yourself and never put yourself in danger.
Self lifesaving techniques
On a lifeguarded beach there are trained professionals but what if you get into trouble when your not on a lifeguarded beach? Techinques you can use to stay alive in the water.
The ‘H.E.L.P.’ and ‘HUDDLE’ postion
The best way to survive cold water is to get out of it as quickly as possible. However, if this isn’t an option, you must conserve your body heat to increase your survival time.
Below is a video showing you how to do these techinques.
Float to stay alive
You’ve gone too far and you can’t touch the bottom you are exhausted. you start to panic and thrash around trying to keep above the water. This video will cover how to stay afloat.
With summers heating up (even in the UK), more and more of us are cooling down in beautiful open water spots across the country. While most dips are safe, an average of 400 people still drown in British waters every year, with men and children most likely to be affected.*.
Drowning doesn’t always look like it does in films.
Despite the splashing arms and screaming we’ve become accustomed to seeing on the big screen, that’s not what drowning always looks like. Drowning is usally quiet and quick. You need to be very vigilant to spot someone who is drowning. A drowning person may ‘climb the ladder’, alternately dip below the water and briefly back up again.
First aid for drowning
If suspect someone has drowned call 999 ☎ and ask for emergency help.
What to do if your drowning or need assitance
Try to keep calm, raise your hand and shout for help. Try to float to stay alive. Keep your arms raised until help has arrived.
Drowning complication (Secondary drowning)
Always call 999 for emergency help, even if the person appears to recover from a drowning. Just a tiny amount of water in the lungs can cause a delayed reaction. This is called deleayed onset drowning and it can be fatal.
In case of emergency, you should call 999 and ask for the Coastguard
PORTSMOUTH AND SOUTHSEA VOLUNTARY LIFEGUARDS, A CHARITY REGISTERED IN ENGLAND (CHARITY NO. 265431)