Channel swimmers brave cold weather


Lifeguards John Simmonds and Justin White get ready for Christmas at Boscombe beach in Dorset

It doesn’t quite have the attraction of Bondi or Palm Beach, but swimmers are expected to brave the plummeting mercury for a quick dip in the English Channel.

Lifeguards at Boscombe Beach in Dorset are on duty throughout the Christmas period ensuring thrill seekers can bathe safely in the chilly sea.

John Simmonds, 28, and Justin White, 24, who have been on duty throughout the recent snow and sub-zero temperatures, are working this festive season.

The lifeguard service is provided by the RNLI and they will be joining thousands of RNLI volunteer lifeboat crew on call.

Mr Simmonds, who is looking forward to his first Christmas on the beach, said: “When you say you’ll be working on the beach this Christmas, people have images of Bondi in the sunshine, not Boscombe.

“Despite the unfortunate difference in temperature, I am sure the festive period will be just as much fun in Dorset.

“It was fairly busy for the RNLI lifeguards on duty last year with plenty of people opting for a Christmas or New Year dip in the sea and it’s great that we are able to provide them with a lifeguarded beach to come to. There will also be those with new surfboards, kayaks and wetsuits who are always eager to try it out as soon as possible.”

They are also offering safety advice to anyone tempted to brave the cold water this winter.

Senior lifeguard Mr White, who will be missing Christmas with his family in Wales, said: “We’d suggest anyone planning to go into the water at this time of year ensures that they are fully prepared with the appropriate clothing and equipment for the conditions, as the water is extremely cold. The beach is a great place to spend time on a sunny winter’s day and if you are heading down to Boscombe, please do come and say hello.”

Last year more than 12,500 people visited Boscombe beach during the festive period.

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