RNLI pulls out of Charmouth Christmas Day swim
It’s a long-standing tradition and a big part of the fun of Christmas.
But, unfortunately, the organizers have ended the Christmas Day swim in Charmouth.
RNLI volunteers have decided they can no longer run the fancy dress dip in the sea at Charmouth due to the additional requirements needed to ensure the event can go ahead safely.
Members of the Lyme Regis and Charmouth Lifeboat Supporters reluctantly made their decision after being told of new rules for such events introduced by the RNLI.
The event has been held annually for about 50 years. Originally, swimming was organized by the inhabitants of Charmouth.
RNLI volunteers have been organizing the event, raising money for the life-saving charity, for 10 years.
Lifeboat Supporters Group Chairman Ken Lavery said: “It is with great sadness that we feel we cannot continue to play the major role in the organization of the event.
“We understand this will be disappointing for many, and the decision was not easy to make. The annual dip has been part of Charmouth’s Christmas tradition for many years, and like many volunteers at the charity are local to Charmouth and the surrounding area, it was a big part of their Christmas long before the RNLI got involved.
“As a rescue organisation, the safety of participants is paramount and the procedures required by the charity for an event to be run safely and properly insured include the production of a risk assessment, plans security and a formal registration system.
“The RNLI is not alone in requiring these safety procedures to be in place for its organized mass turnout events, but unfortunately for the small group of volunteers involved with the Lyme Regis and Charmouth Lifeboat Supporters, the amount of work necessary to meet these requirements has outgrown, both before, but especially on Christmas Day itself
An RNLI spokesperson said: ‘We appreciate people are disappointed with the decision, but the safety of participants is key and the organization is not believed to be able to provide the level of safety required. We would also like to give our dedicated volunteers the opportunity to enjoy Christmas Day with their families.
Ken Lavery added: “The group of supporters are sad that their fundraising association with this long-running event has come to an end. However, our members felt they had no choice.
“We want to give everyone as much notice as possible because we know how popular Charmouth’s dip was and how disappointed many spectators and participants will be.”
In recent years, the Charmouth dip has regularly collected donations in the range of £2,000.