LIFEGUARD cover should be rapidly reinstated on beaches in Swansea and Gower now that seaside car parks have reopened, according to a worried councillor.
Cllr Will Thomas said he felt it was dangerous not to have lifeguards patrolling beaches as popular as Langland and Caswell, which are in his Newton ward.
He said he has raised the issue already with the council, and had now followed it up with a written question.
The authority reopened its beach car parks to coincide with changes to restrictions on movement announced by the Welsh Government, which allow the public to drive five miles within their area.
Cllr Thomas said as soon as the council opened the car parks it “sent a message” that the beaches were open for visitors.
“It is extremely dangerous to not have lifeguard cover on beaches as busy as Langland and Caswell, and this needs to be put in place as soon as possible to keep the public safe,” said the Conservative councillor.
The council liaises with the RNLI, which normally provides lifeguard cover from the end of June to the beginning of September at Swansea beach, Caswell, Langland, Three Cliffs Bay and Port Eynon.
The life-saving charity’s capacity has significantly reduced due to the coronavirous crisis, although it has said it would look to increase it.
Asked when lifeguard cover would resume in Swansea and Gower, an RNLI spokesman said: “Now we are out of lockdown we are working hard to start a lifeguard service on several beaches in Wales, in discussion with the Welsh Government, local authorities, landowners and other partners.”
The council confirmed it was in discussions with the RNLI, and has also put large banners up at some beaches reminding people that no lifeguards were on duty.
The authority said it has also been dealing with reports of jet skiers getting too close to swimmers, and stressed that boats and jet skis should not be within 50 metres of the shoreline.
It also urged beach visitors to take their litter home if bins were full, because some cleansing staff have transferred to other roles to help with the coronavirus pandemic.
Earlier this month First Minister Mark Drakeford said the RNLI was only operating at 30% capacity at a UK-wide level, and that only 10 beaches in Wales would have lifeguard cover from June to September.
He urged people to be extra careful.
“The help and supervision that would have been there normally to make sure people can use the sea safely will not be available in the way that it has been,” said Professor Drakeford.
“People will have to take very direct responsibility for making sure that they factor that into their plans.”
The RNLI urged anyone wanting to swim in the sea to stay in familiar surroundings.
“Do not put yourself, your family and emergency services at risk by taking risks or assuming it won’t happen to you,” said the charity’s spokesman.
“Have a plan – check the weather forecast and do not swim or allow your family to swim alone.”