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Nathan Elms, Lifeguard: Five things I would change about Jersey

Nathan Elms, Lifeguard: Five things I would change about Jersey

Friday 21 June 2019

Nathan Elms, Lifeguard: Five things I would change about Jersey


It's rare you'll see lifeguard Nathan without his trusty surfboard... Two years ago, he used it to rescue six people trapped in a cave in Bali, and now he's just won a top British surfing title.

Despite normally keeping an eye on Jersey swimmers' activities, the 26-year-old recently made his own waves by stopping third place in the British Surfing Championships ahead of competitors from England, Wales and Scotland - despite being a first-timer in the contest.

When he is not surfing, Nathan helps keep others safe in the water as Lifeguard Supervisor for the RNLI, with whom he has been for eight seasons.

Since he moved to the island at the age of six, Nathan has spent more time in the water than on land and developed detailed knowledge of the local waters. 

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Pictured: Nathan has been with the RNLI for eight seasons.

Although he’s not on duty 24/7, he surfs all year round and is always ready to use his many years of lifesaving training and experience. In 2017, while on holiday in Bali, Nathan rescued six people from a cave where they were trapped by a rapidly rising tide – using his trusty surfboard.

This time around, though, he is coming to the rescue of the island with a few ideas to spruce it up...

1. Save the deep blue, by being green...

As someone who spends a lot of time in the water, both as an RNLI lifeguard and as a surfer, I see first-hand how fragile our ocean environments are. I’d like to see future generations get as much enjoyment from the coast as I have done.

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Pictured: For Nathan, Jersey has some of the best beaches in the world.

Living on an island with some of the best beaches in the world I think Jersey is in a unique position to really take a lead on how we preserve our seas, whether it’s tackling plastic pollution or raising awareness of pollution or threats to wildlife.

2. Sea-fty first!

We have amazing beaches and surf in the bays around the Channel Islands, but the sea can also be incredibly dangerous. As RNLI lifeguards, we receive world-class training and equipment to help us try and rescue those who get into difficulty. But we want to stop people getting into those situations in the first place by respecting the water.

RNLI Lifeguard St Ouen

Pictured: Nathan is an RNLI Lifeguard Supervisor.

If I could change one thing it would be for people to check sea conditions before and during their visit to the beaches. There is lots of vital information, from tide timetables to the state of the sea, available from RNLI and the Coastguard websites. We also regularly update our social media on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to let people know the very latest reports.

Our lifeguards are always happy to give advice face to face and if you do visit the beach, make sure you swim between the red and yellow flags.

Tide Beach

Pictured: Nathan would like to see more islanders check sea conditions before venturing out in the water.

We also have a dedicated team of volunteers visiting our schools to inform local children about sea safety and the specific dangers we have in Jersey, so I look forward to seeing more awareness from future generations.

3. Wave hello to a 'wavegarden'!

Like many people on Jersey, I love surfing and I think a wavegarden on the island would be amazing. A wavegarden is a man-made lagoon that generates waves for surfing and other sports.

ocean waves sea

Pictured: Waves year-round? Sounds like a surfer's paradise.

There’s no need to wait for the right weather conditions, or tides, Wavegardens can be capable of generating up to 1,000 ocean like waves per hour.  They’ve got these in other parts of the world and one on Jersey would be amazing and a great tourist attraction – surely we are next on the list?

4. More creativity in social events 

Certain groups and individuals are doing a great job organising events in Jersey, but I’d like to see more happening – especially for younger people.

concert party festival club

Pictured: Certain groups and individuals are doing a great job organising events in Jersey, but Nathan wants more.

I think Jersey has some amazing locations and I’d like to see the island being really creative with what’s on offer.

5. Wanderlust shouldn't cost big bucks

Everyone likes to spend time away whether it’s winter or summer, but because we live on an island we often have to travel over to the UK first before we can head to our destination.

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Pictured: Everyone likes a getaway, Nathan says, so time to make it cheaper.

I’d like to see transport links between the UK and Jersey reduced in price. A simple flight over to the UK can be just as expensive as your connecting flight, which could be 10 times the distance!

The views in this article are those of the author and not the Bailiwick Express.

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Posted by Christopher McCarthy on
good constructive points of view
keep them coming
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