Pete Blyth, East Devon's new Beach Safety Officer

East Devon’s new Beach Safety Officer is enjoying making sure that the district’s coastal land is safe for residents and visitors to use

My job title should really be: “Safety, welcome and enjoyment officer for beach, sea, estuary, harbours and other coastal issues”, but I would need a business card and name badge a foot wide to fit all that in. So, as the (abbreviated) Beach Safety Officer for East Devon, let me tell you about my role.

I’m responsible for our beaches at Exmouth, Budleigh Salterton, Sidmouth, Beer, Seaton and Axmouth harbour, and I also work with colleagues on the Exe estuary. Since the beginning of July, when I took up this position, I’ve been busy getting to know colleagues, tenants, users groups and other key people involved with our beaches, slipways, and harbours. I’ve also been auditing all our water safety equipment to make sure it’s in accordance with RNLI guidance on best practice. I've also been looking at ways in which our coastal signage could be more effective and welcoming.

East Devon beaches have always been part of my life. One of my earliest memories is building sandcastles and going rock pooling on Sidmouth beach aged about three.  More recently, before joining the council, I was with the National Trust as Head Ranger, East Devon, for six years.  When I’m not working, I can often still be found by the coast, indulging my passion for landscape photography or walking my dog along the coast path.

It’s really difficult to describe a typical day, because every day in this job is different. I could be out checking life rings, talking to beach users, meeting water sports groups, looking at improvements to beach signage, checking on items washed up, inspecting or replacing our buoys, or dealing with problems as they occur and generally making sure all our coastal land is safe and enjoyable for our residents and visitors to use.

If you have any questions, comments or concerns about our beaches, slipways, harbours etc or the sea beyond them, I’m always really happy to discuss them with you. I’m based with the StreetScene service and divide my office time between Sidmouth and Exmouth, but because I’m out on site so much, it’s best to contact me by email on pblyth@eastdevon.gov.uk .  Or if you’d prefer to speak to me, you can call me on 01395 226960.