We are blessed with some beautiful beaches in East Sussex, and now the sun is finally shining and temperatures are beginning to rise, they are popular places to visit. Helping to keep visitors safe this spring and summer are the RNLI lifeguards who patrol a number of our beaches from April until October.

Jodie Shoesmith, a RNLI Lifeguard Supervisor based at Camber Sands, spoke to us recently about working summers on the beach.

Patrolling the beaches

Jodie has been a lifeguard at the Camber and Bexhill beaches for the last five years, and this summer will be her sixth season patrolling the sands.

“I live in Bexhill and come from a strong swimming background – I was a competitive swimmer from 9 years old – so lifeguarding was a natural fit.

“A lot of people filter through from swimming clubs to lifeguarding. Friends recommended I do the training and I haven’t looked back!”

Stay dry!

In the five years she has been a lifeguard, Jodie has given beach safety advice to many visitors enjoying a day on our beaches.

“Our motto is ‘a good lifeguard is a dry lifeguard’. So much of our work is preventative and advisory – we are there to make sure people are enjoying their time on the beach by helping them to stay safe.

“For example, at Camber the tide comes in very quickly. A big part of our job is informing people of the dangers and encouraging people to swim in the safe swim zones, between the red and yellow flags.”

Safety first

In 2022, the RNLI’s lifeguards in East Sussex responded to 359 incidents and helped 359 people in need.

Remembering some key safety messages can help ensure people have a safe day at the seaside.

“Firstly, come to a lifeguarded beach”, says Jodie.

“Secondly, take notice of which flags are flying. Swim between the red and yellow flags in the safe swim zone. A red flag means no swimming and an orange one means no inflatables in the water.

“And remember ‘Float to live’ – if you do get into trouble, don’t panic, turn on to your back and float conserving energy while you wait for help.”

Best summer job!

RNLI lifeguards patrol from 10am to 6pm and every day on the beach is different. Last summer, lifeguards helped swimmers caught out by strong currents, saved children being blown offshore on inflatables, came to the rescue of paddleboarders and gave critical first aid on beaches.

“There are a lot of demands but it is so enjoyable. Lifeguarding is really character building. It helps you grow your confidence, builds teamwork skills, and encourages people to take responsibility.

“There are high fitness expectations but we work together to maintain and improve our fitness over the season.

“It’s the best summer job!”


Details of your nearest lifeguarded beach can be found on the RNLI website.

If you’re heading to the seaside, take a look at the RNLI’s top five tips to help you and your family stay safe.