Not all RNLI patrolled beaches provide wristbands with children’s contact details

A Facebook post shared over 2,000 times claims Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) patrolled beaches are offering free wristbands for children on which parents can write their phone numbers in waterproof ink, so that lifeguards can contact rescuers parents of children from whom they may be separated.

The RNLI, which aims to provide lifeguards at over 240 beaches at the height of the summer season, told Full Fact he did not operate this service, but said RNLI lifeguards would be able to tell if such a system was working in an area they patrolled.

A spokesperson told Full Fact: ‘We don’t run a wristband program, but we do support initiatives to keep kids safe at the beach. These are organized locally by landowners or communities, and may not be present at all beaches.

“Our lifeguards will be able to tell you where a wristband system works in an area and at some supervised beaches they may be able to provide you with a wristband. If you visit the beach, we advise you to visit a supervised one and our lifeguards can advise you on how to spend a pleasant and safe day on the coast.”

Some local RNLI operations have run similar programs, at least in the past.

Its website announced the launch of a bracelet program for lost children in Yorkshire in June 2019stating: “Parents or guardians are asked to write their mobile phone number on a free paper wristband which is available from lifesaving and lifesaving stations and shops all along the Yorkshire coast.”

A website called Isle of Thanet News reported that the program was also coming to the beaches of Thanet, in August 2019.

Are all RNLI lifeguard DBS checked?

The message also claims that RNLI lifeguards are ‘DRB vetted’.

This term seems to confuse the now extinct term CRB verification and DBS verifications in progress. DBS checks are a way to see if someone has a criminal record and is on any prohibited listswhich means they cannot work with certain vulnerable people.

RNLI told Full Fact: ‘It is a condition of employment of our lifeguards that they have current Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check.’

Image reproduced with the kind permission of Ray Harington