Thanet RNLI Community Safety

Exciting new initiative with mobile Vet in East Kent!


The Vet 2U team delivering key safety messages

On Tuesday (27th March) we made a really exciting announcement that we are now working in partnership with a local Thanet mobile vet, Vet 2U. We have teamed up with Vet 2U, so that they can help us spread the key safety message amongst their clients and community about not entering the water if a doggie can’t get out or gets into difficulty, to call ‘999; and ask for the Coastguard.  The full article can be found on the RNLI website.

This initiative with Vet 2U is a fantastic example of helping to spread our safety messages by using local trusted businesses and organisations. More information on how to stay safe at the coast with your doggie can be found on the RNLI website. I’ve published a previous blog on dog safety whilst at the coast, which can be found by following this link. Keep a look out for our on-going dog owner/walker engagement beach sessions when we give out fabulous free yummy doggie treats and fab tennis balls.

Have a good, safe Bank Holiday and enjoy your Easter eggs!


Throw line bags & Saving Lives

With the increase in numbers of throw line bags being located around our waterways, coastal and harbour areas I thought it was high time to write a blog dedicated to highlighting their importance and good practice. A previous post of mine highlighted how throwline boards are being deployed at a riverside location in Leeds amongst others to help rescue persons who may fall into the water, which is dedicated to a drowning victim.

Incase you haven’t come across a throw line bag before, they are basically specially designed coiled rope that is contained in a brightly coloured canvas bag that can be thrown to a casualty in the water so that you can pull them ashore, keeping hold of one end of the rope. The picture below will illustrate it better.


Throw line bag in action

Increasing numbers of staff at harbour/coastal bars, cafes and businesses are being trained in the use of throw line bags, so that they can quickly deploy them if needed at all times of the day. The RNLI have called this initiative the ‘Community Responders’ scheme and is designed to train and deploy throw line bags in various parts of the country.  They have already trained bar staff up at various premises along the River Thames.  This is such a valuable opportunity to get essential lifesaving equipment into the hands of trained people at key locations, where they will used to save lives.

If you are a business, organisation or group that is based on the harbour, riverside or coastal area in Norfolk, Tyne & Wear or Kent, then follow this link and sign up for the training. If you would like more information on the scheme in Kent, then contact the Margate Community Safety Team and we can help get you signed up to the closest training venue to your business or home.


Further information on how throw line bags are best used can be found here

The Royal Life Saving Society (RLSS) publish lots of great water safety advice their website link can be found here

RNLI Award for campaigning Mother motivated by Son’s tragic death

RNLI and Tyne and Wear Fire & Rescue Service join forces to ,launch community responder training

The Tyne and Wear scheme is dedicated to the memory of Ross Irwin, a 22-year-old who accidentally drowned in the River Wear on his way home from a Christmas night out with his friends in 2016. Ross’ dad, Wearside firefighter Dave Irwin, is backing the scheme that will help local businesses understand the dangers cold water poses to their customers and provide them with the equipment to help rescue them safely.

Thanks for reading and please share or discuss what you’ve read or watched in this blog, it could save someone’s life!

Are you a business, bar, restaurant, or organisation that operates on the coastline, harbour or marina, then sign up for the RNLI Community Responder scheme, it’s free and you will be given free training from a qualified RNLI Instructor at a location convenient to you. Sign up here.





It’s ok not to be ok!


Mental health issues are now a fact of life throughout every community, workplace, neighbourhood or family.  You will unfortunately, know of someone who has suffered or is currently suffering from a mental health issue. In years gone by, if someone was having a bad day or going through a bad patch, the age old saying was quite probably “man up” or “sort yourself out”. Thankfully, we are seeing a changing culture, whereby it is now more acceptable to have a ‘bad day’ or that you are ‘going through a bad patch’. It’s ok not to be ok!

Cuppa & Chat?

The Samaritans recently ran an excellent campaign entitled ‘Brew Monday’ encourgaing poeple to talk over a cuppa. Thankfully, we are now seeing more and more employers are investing time and resources in looking after their employees mental health.  Great work is currently being undertaken by the charity Mind, working in collaboration with SAR and Emergency Services has to be appaulded.

I recently refreshed a small volunteer group in my local community. This brings together a small number of dog walkers using a social media platform, who during their daily dog walks, have increased their awareness of anyone they felt was having a bad day close to the coastline or anyone out at sea was looking to be in trouble.  It is not about being a ‘nosey parker’, but to ask one simple question ‘are you ok’ if they see someone out and about who didn’t seem ok.  Our local press recently carried a news item highlighting the very tragic case of lady who travelled down from London, who took her own life in the sea.  Dog walkers are out at all times of the day and in all weathers and can spot someone who may need help from the emergency services. The Coastguard, RNLI and other emergency services would rather be called out and it’s a false alarm, than not at all and someone is indeed in difficulty.

I’ve included my top 10 links at the bottom of this blog that are all designed to provide help around mental health issues. Take the time, have a cuppa and a natter. “It’s good to talk”.



Kent County Council




Mental health

NHS resources

Time To change


Vivus – new documentary series from @mohagony about raising mental health awareness by @RosieCarney11 how music has helped her battle with depression and anxiety.





The Beast From The East & Storm Emma


‘The Beast From The East’

You will have all, either witnessed first hand, read and or watched the effects of the very challenging weather we experienced throughout the UK, aka ‘the Beast From The East’ and Storm Emma. No doubt you may have read or heard about some of the water related incidents, rescues and the terrible drownings that this weather has led to.  One of the very sad incidents, was that of Charlie Pope, a 19 year-old Manchester University student who went missing in the early hours of the morning.  His body was tragically found in the Rochdale Canal days later. Our heartfelt condolences and prayers go out to Charlie’s family, friends and his fellow University students. An incident in Welling, Kent involved a 60 year old man who had fallen into the freezing lake.  Three bodies were also pulled from the River Clyde in less than 24 hours according to Glasgow’s Evening Times.

Have a look at the widely acclaimed Professor Mike Tipton’s (Portsmouth University) work he carried out for the RNLI on cold water shock. If highly trained Special Forces and Olympic athletes are struggling in extreme water temperatures, then everyone else is also going to struggle too. Take a look at the video below, it may give you food for throught:

Cold Water Shock and Swimming failure

There are a few points to bring out with regards some of these incidents :
  • 1) That the water whether you are at the coast, canal, river or pond is especially freezing at this time of the year. It has been found that around half of those that drown did not intend to end up in the water.  A slip, trip or fall could be fatal.
  • 2) If a person, a dog or other animal does fall into the water or through ice then don’t be tempted to self-rescue, call the emergency services ‘999’ (Fire Service if inland or UK Coastguard at the coast) and get the guys and girls with the specialist kit to carry out the rescue;
  • 3) If you go out for a few cheeky beers with your mates, by all means have a fantastic time, please don’t take that short-cut home, alone near to canals, rivers, coastal areas or ponds! Watch out for your mates, have a plan and make sure that they get home safe and sound. Follow the Royal Lifesaving Society Advice ‘Don’t Drink and Drown’.

Please share as much as possible the advice and video’s in this blog. If you can please sign Becky Ramsey’s on-line petition, it takes just two minutes to enter your name, postcode etc.

Thank you

Some useful links:

National Water Safety Forum

Safety In Action & Lifeboat Call-out


Kent RNLI Education Team at Dreamland

This past week, I have been at Dreamland Margate, assisting the RNLI Kent Educational Team, at the Safety In Action event. Safety In Action is part of an interactive learning experience for over 700 Year 6 children from Thanet, to help them gain vital safety lessons before their move to secondary school. This is organised and run by a company called Salus and involves a whole host of different agencies.

Lifeboat Call-Out

On the Monday, whilst I was helping the team to set up the stand, my RNLI pager suddenly sprang into life, singing out its distintive high pitched tone, summoning me to the Lifeboat Station for a ‘service call’.. The message displayed on the pager screen indicated ‘ALB Immediate Readiness’. This means that the All-Weather Boat was required to be launched.  I pedallled quickly to the station on my bike, which I had strategically positioned close to our stand for a quick getaway. I arrived at the Lifeboat station in good time, quickly changing into my yellow wellies, hardhat with ear protection, lifejacket and grabbing the tractor key. Whilst I was doing this, I learnt from the Coxswain’s briefing that the All Weather Boat (ALB) was launching to a large buoy that was drifting into a shipping lane. The full Lifeboat Press Officer’s Report can be read here.

After carrying out my essential safety checks and liaising with the Headlauncher and Coxswain, I manoeuvred the tractor carefully pushing the Mersey class lifeboat out of the boathouse and down the slipway, launching her into the sea. After returning to the boathouse, I got myself back to help the crew at the Safety In Action event.

Organisations involved in Safety In Action

The organisations involved included:

Kent Police, British Transport Police, Kent Fire & Rescue Service, Kent County Council, Kenward Trust, NHS (School Nurse Team), Hopkins, Headstart Kent, Margate Task Force and Kent County Council Early Help.


Spot the dangers banner

The RNLI Education Team have 10 minutes to talk with a small group of children about safety around the coast and beach. After the 10 minutes is up, the group of children move onto another stand where they receive a different topic of interest eg railway safety or fire safety etc. The young people we met with were really interested and enthusiastic in learning about sea safety.  We wish you the best of luck in your transition to your new schools in September and thank you for visiting our stand.

Lifejacket Clinic – sends out massive safety message


On Sunday, myself and one of our Community Safety Advisors ran a lifejacket clinic, hosted by the Royal Temple Yacht Club, Ramsgate. The clinic was set up to check sailors lifejackets prior to the start of the sailing season.  We were kept pretty busy, checking 72 lifejackets in total, unfortunately 41 failed the basic quality checks. The failures ranged from rusty and corroded cannisters, lose or missing cylinders, out of date firing mechanisms to name a few.  Our clinic made the Ramsgate RNLI website and Margate RNLI Facebook page highlighting the need to check your lifejacket and get it properly maintained on a regular basis. Have a look at my previous blog post on lifejacket top tips.

One lifejacket that was found to be totally unusable

The photo above shows one of the lifejackets that failed the checks

Thanks to the Royal Temple Yacht Club Commodore, staff and members for hosting the event and for making us feel very welcome. Thanks also to Keith Friar for sending us the demonstration defunct lifejackets.

Lifejackets are probably the most important piece of lifesaving kit that a sailor, fishermen or sea sports enthusiast could possibly own and or use. They are useless unless worn and also useless unless properly maintained and looked after.

More information on how to choose the right lifejacket and look after it properly can be found via the RNLI website

Drowning Prevention & Doing It For Dylan

I have devoted this blog to water safety and drowning prevention. The reasons behind this are: highlight the excellent work currently being undertaken by people who work tirelessely: Becky Ramsey (Doing It For Dylan campaign) Gary Willoughby (Twitter @munchbite) and Dawn Whittacker (East Sussex Chief Fire Officer CFOA Drowning Prevention Lead & Chair of RLSS Trustees) amongst others.

If you haven’t seen any of the really powerful video’s on YouTube yet take at look at this:

We need people to share these messages as far and wide as possible to help prevent further tragedies. If you haven’t read or heard about about Becky Ramsey’s tireless drowning prevention work, check out her Facebook page.

Becky Ramsey has also set-up an on-line petition to get Parliament to place water safety and drowning prevention on the national curriculum. Please sign the petition and share with everyone you know. If Becky’s petition receives 10,000 signatures it will get the Government to give a response. Follow this link to the petition.

Throwline boards

There is lots of great work being carried out up and down the country by individuals and organisations (including West Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Service) to increase water safety and improve drowning prevention. You may have noticed alongside rivers, canals and some parts of the coast throwline boards have been popping up. These are part of some fantastic collaborative initiatives to increase the accessibility and availability of quality lifesaving equipment in at risk areas. If you see one of these boards, have a read and make sure you know what to do in an emergency.

The throwline board initiative (as seen below) in Leeds, is dedicated to Megan Roberts who tragically died of drowning in 2014, by her Mother Jackie.


A link to this story can be found at West Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Service throws Leeds a Lifeline.

The RNLI are piloting throw line bag initiatives in several coastal areas and on the River Thames in London. Whereby riverside and harbourside businesses and bars can sign up to receive a free of charge, throw line bag to retain on their premises for use incase of someone entering the water close-by. The throw line bag initiative is dedicated to the memory of James Clark who drowned in the Thames at Kingston in 2005. Andrea Corrie, James’ Mother has been campaigning tirelessly for improve safety measures along the river Thames.

Please, please have those conversations with your family members (particularly, if you have boys/men aged 16-39 years old), but everyone, including friends and work colleagues about water safety and drowning prevention. You could save someone’s life by sharing a video or talking about what you have read here. We would very much like you to sign Becky’s petition if you possibly can, follow this link now.

Thank you for reading.

Useful links:

Doing it For Dylan – Becky Ramsey’s water safety campaign after her 13 year old son tragically died whilst swimming in open water in 2011

Drowning Prevention petition – Becky Ramsey

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to drown? Ladbible – Professor Mike Tipton

Know how to use a throw line bag – RNLI

Royal Lifesaving Society of UK

RNLI Complete Guide to Cold Water Shock

Coastsafe – Devon & Cornwall Police Initiative

UK Drowning Prevention Safety Forum