Lifeguards were recommended three years ago by the RNLI for Camber Sands where five friends tragically drowned this week.
Rother District Council confirmed a risk assessment carried out by the lifeboat crews and lifeguards charity at Camber Sands in 2013 suggested the use of lifeguards.
This revelation comes after the council previously insisted that the seven-mile stretch of beach near Rye, East Sussex, had been assessed as safe without lifeguards.
The council has now decided put lifeguards on the beach until the end of the summer season, claiming that an increase in less well-informed visitors from inland locations in the last three years has changed the nature of the risk.
The news comes as the RNLI volunteered six of its staff to guard the beach this weekend.
In a statement issued on Thursday, a council spokeswoman said: “Regular assessments of Camber beach are carried out in conjunction with the RNLI to ensure the area is safe.
“These checks have not, to date, identified the need for lifeguards.”
But yesterday Brett Shepherd, operations manager for RNLI lifeguards, said the RNLI had carried out a detailed risk assessment at Camber Sands, and recommended that lifeguards be deployed.
He said: “We’ve risk assessed the beaches there, working with the council.
“We recommended lifeguards as one control measure, alongside education for people, and the beach patrols which Rother District Council provides.”
The organisation regularly carries out assessments on beaches which take in everything from the size of the waves, the topography of the land and the people who visit, after which they negotiate with councils to provide lifeguarding services.
A spokeswoman for Rother District Council said: “More recently the environment has changed enormously with a different demographic of visitors – many of these are coming from inland and have very little or no experience of the sea and dangers it presents.
“The RNLI assessment in 2013 suggested, among other potential measures, the consideration of a seasonal lifeguarding service.
“In reviewing these suggestions, improvements were made to beach management and a lifeguard service has been kept under constant review.
“Due to the recent fatalities, in agreement with the RNLI, we have reconsidered the suggested measures and feel that, because of the changing nature of demographic, a temporary lifeguarding service needs to be in place until end of season.a
“We will then review all options with the RNLI in preparation for next year.”
On Wednesday five friends – Kenugen Saththiyanathan, 18 and his brother Kobikanthan Saththiyanathan, 22 and their friends Nitharsan Ravi, 22, Inthushan Sriskantharasa, 23 and Gurushanth Srithavarajah, 27 – died at Camber.
The friends, from south-east London, are believed to have got into trouble after they fell into deep channels of water between sand-bars – mounds of sand created by the wave and tide.
Earlier this summer Brazilian teen Gustavo Silva da Cruz drowned at the beach and in 2012 29-year-old Tanzeela Ajmal died after being dragged underwater by a rip tide.
News Source TelegraphNews