TRANSDEV Yellow Buses is being used to drive home the message that people should only swim at beaches which have lifeguards.
Beachwise is the first ever outdoor advertising campaign by the Poole-based Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) aimed at raising public awareness about beach safety.
It was launched in Poole but has now been rolled out to other parts of Dorset, Devon and Cornwall.
Statistics show that in the UK you are 500 times less likely to drown at a beach with lifeguards than on one without them.
The RNLI lifeguard service was trialled on 25 beaches in 2001 and introduced as a permanent RNLI lifesaving service in 2002.
Last year the RNLI operated 62 beach lifeguard units in Cornwall, Devon and Dorset and dealt with 9,400 incidents, helping more than 10,000 adults and children.
This year lifeguards are operating on 71 beaches every day, 10am until 6pm, until the end of summer.
The RNLI is using billboards, ad vans and the backs of vehicles operated by Transdev Yellow Buses (TYB) to deliver the message: ‘Be seen to be Beachwise.’ TYB has also donated free advertising inside the buses to the RNLI.
The RNLI has also branded the land train on Bournemouth sea front with Beachwise advertising and aerial banners will be flown across the south west region during the holidays.
The advertising campaign looks set to go nationwide in 2008 if this year’s test marketing in the South West is deemed successful. Kelly Keating, the RNLI’s Beach Safety Programmes Manager, said: ”Recent research* shows that only ten per cent of people consider safety when deciding which beach to visit. The Beachwise campaign aims to address this by encouraging people to only swim at beaches with lifeguards.
“We’ve been very encouraged by the feedback that we’ve already received from the public about the advertising campaign, which indicates that the initiative has so far been successful in encouraging people to think about safety at the seaside.”
Jenni Wilkinson, TYB’s Communications and Marketing Manager, added: “We’re delighted to be involved in the RNLI campaign. This is an important message which deserves, and gets, our full support.”
Bus message: The RNLI’s Kelly Keating (second left) and Jenni Wilkinson, of Transdev Yellow Buses (second right), with lifeguards Ross MacLeod and Mike Winter on Bournemouth Seafront.
* RNLI/Ipsos MORI awareness research 2006