NSVL is a lifeguard and lifesaving training club with 250 members aged 8 and upwards based in Tynemouth, North-East England.
In the summer of 1998 group of experienced lifesavers and lifeguards in the Whitley Bay area who had considerable teaching and training experience decided to get together with the intention of forming a lifeguard club.
An open meeting was organised to discuss setting up a club, and around 30 people in the area attended. The ideas behind the club were discussed and everyone at the meeting was invited to think of a name for the new club. Various proposals were suggested, but finally North Sea Volunteer Lifeguards was decided upon and 26 people joined on that very night.
Affiliating to the Royal Life Saving Society UK, North Sea Volunteer Lifeguards was born.
- To promote the development of lifeguard and lifesaving training and expertise
- To promote technical education in lifesaving and water safety to the local community
- To promote self rescue, rescue and resuscitation skills within the community
Starting off small, the club was originally intended just as a club run by lifeguards for lifeguards. An approach was made to North Tyneside Council to find a suitable location for a beach base. A number of suggestions were made, and after looking at all the options a suitable unit was found on the Central Lower Promenade at the south end of the beach. The unit was an old children's theatre company and had been used as a dump for all sorts of rubbish from all the other units. But under the rubble was a reasonably sized unit with 3 separate rooms. Eventually, after much hard work, the unit was transformed with one room taken as a training room, another as an office/first aid room, and the largest room split into male/female changing rooms with showers, equipment store and kitchen.
We have since moved to a base on Tynemouth Longsands due to the demolition of the promenade at Whitley Bay.
Despite the temperatures of the North Sea, the Beach Base is in use at weekends all year round - not least on Boxing Day when a number of our members brave the icy waters for a dip!
Since the club was established, the club has benefited from the purchase of £30,000 worth of equipment, either through our own fundraising efforts or grants from charitable trusts.
Our equipment includes sufficient torpedo buoys, throw bags, VHF radios, rescue boards and rescue skis to be able to run courses with up to 12 people.
Rookies have access to junior versions of most of the rescue equipment listed above, meaning that they can learn rescue skills from an early age, and hopefully be the highly skilled lifeguards of the future.
In our well equipped training rooms we now have laptop and projector, overhead projector, TV/DVD and white boards. For Life Support training we have 30 Adult, 21 Baby and 16 Child resuscitation manikins allowing us to run more than one course simultaneously and ensuring trainees get as much hands on practice as possible.
NSVL originally had an hour of pool time at Whitley Bay Leisure Pool on a Sunday evening, to allow for beach lifeguard pool training and also senior lifesaving awards.
As the club gained a firm footing, the age limit to join the club was gradually lowered to allow members of the Council's Rookie programme (running immediately prior to the NSVL session) to join in with the club's activities once they had become too old for Rookies.
But soon NSVL was to take on the Rookies as well.
NSVL went online in 2000 and www.nsvl.org.uk quickly became a primary source of information on the web about lifesaving and lifeguarding.
The power of the web site in the club's development is not to be underestimated as about 80% of people attending courses find out about them through the web site.
The web site receives over 150 unique visitors per day from all over the world and fields numerous e-mail queries related to lifesaving and lifeguarding.
In the first 4-5 years the club developed rapidly in terms of number of members and also the qualifications held by members. Indeed in 2002 the club became the largest beach lifeguard training club in the UK, responsible for qualifying 10% of all RLSS beach lifeguards in the UK.
Not only are the majority of senior members pool and beach lifeguards, but we are lucky enough to have a number of national trainer assessors in all the RLSS disciplines (Lifesaving, Life Support, Extended Life Support, Pool Lifeguarding, Beach Lifeguarding and Rescue Boat) who can run courses to train people how to teach lifeguarding and lifesaving.
These courses attract people from all over the country and from within the club who go on to teach new lifeguards and lifesavers. The availability of teacher training courses in house encourages members to further their training and pass skills on to others.
For the ordinary lifeguard and lifesaver this ensures a high-quality of formal and informal training is available all year round.
With the increased number of teachers within our membership, in September 2003 NSVL took over the Council's Rookie Programme. This gave us an extra hour pool time, meaning that all the junior lifesaving could take place first leaving the pool with much more space for lifeguard and senior lifesaving training in the second session.
After a short bedding in period, the Rookies quickly became one of the most successful parts of the clubs. All teachers are fully-qualified and provide their services voluntarily.
This means we now offer the full range of lifesaving awards from Rookies at 8-years-old, to pool and beach lifeguard at 16 years (to 60 and beyond!)
In accordance with Child Protection guidelines all teachers and trainers are in possession of Enhanced CRB disclosures.
With the increased activities of the club, 2004 saw NSVL incorporated as a Charitable Company registered in England (company number 5162996).
This allowed us to progress with our aim of becoming a registered charity (number 1114331), something which we eventually achieved in May 2006, giving us greater access to funding.
NSVL's role in serving the community was recognised in January 2010, when committee members were presented with the prestigious Whitley Bay Town Cup at a full meeting of North Tyneside Council.
We are excited to now be part of the community on Tynemouth Longsands, and plan to make the most of our new location. The layout of the beach allows for more productive training and the wealth of other things going on allows us to network with other organisations and promote our club.
There has never been a more exciting time to be involved with NSVL, so why not join in yourself?
No matter how young or old you are -
No matter what your level of swimming ability -
No matter what your previous experience -
There are lifesaving courses available for you.
For youngsters aged between 8 years and 12 years:
The Rookie Lifeguard Programme
These are all programmes that will teach you how to save someone's life in an emergency.
For Teenagers and Adults:
Survive and Save
Life Support Awards
National Rescue Award for Swimming Teacher and Coaches
National Pool Lifeguard Qualification
National Beach Lifeguard Qualification
Save a Baby's Life
Save a Child's Life
Save an Adult's Life
Automated External Defibrilator (AED)