Thanet RNLI Community Safety

National Fire Chief’s Drowning Prevention & Water Safety week
Pictured with the Margate Fire Station Duty Watch

Drowning Prevention Week

This week I have been actively supporting the National Fire Chief’s Drowning Prevention and Water Safety campaign. This campaign has seen a huge amount of innovative engagement activity, including talks to community groups, water safety equipment ‘show and tell’, stands at reservoirs and throw bag training amongst others. This activity has been widespread across the UK involving the respective Fire & and Rescue Services’, Coastguard Volunteer Rescue Teams, RNLI, water companies, water safety campaigners, Search and Rescue Teams, Police Services’ and water safety groups all collaboratively spreading and sharing the water safety and drowning prevention messages. On social media the twitter #BewaterAware has been shared extensively to ensure the message is spread as far as possible and even ‘trended’ 5th on Monday 23rd, although the birth of the Royal baby was ‘trending’ as number one! This campaign has been spreadheaded by the Chief Fire Officers Association Drowning Prevention Lead and East Sussex Chief Fire Officer, Dawn Whittacker

National Fire Chiefs – Be Water Aware Campaign

Different Focus

Each day of the campaign, has seen a focus on a different activity, namely Monday – exploring the waterside equipment aka life rings and throw bags that are now standard around our rivers, canals, coasts and waterways, Tuesday – runners and walkers safety, Wednesday – ‘Away From Home’ (holidays in the UK and abroad and the emphasis on being safe whilst swimming), Thursday – Away From Home, Friday and Saturday will be alcohol related themes (due to the weekend potential for higher rates of socialising).

More young children die in pools abroad on holiday than do overall in the UK!

Kent’s Community Responder Programme

Kent Fire and Rescue Service have teamed up to work collaboratively with the RNLI to roll-out the Community Responder programme. The Community Safety team are delivering the training on behalf of the RNLI to train businesses (at selected locations around Maidstone, close to the River Medway) in water safety and how to deploy the throw-bags and will receive a free throw-line bag to retain on their premises inreadiness for an incident in the river. If this is well received by businesses, it may be rolled out to other areas in the county where water poses a risk in built-up localities.  If you are an organisation or business in Kent and want to find out more then email the Community Safety Team.

 

Effectively deploying a throw bag to a water casualty

Thanks for reading about this vitally important campaign. Please share far and wide, it just could save someone’s life.

Here are just some of the very useful drowning prevention groups, organisations and individuals, so check them out for more advice:

Doing It For Dylan

Kent Fire and Rescue Service Drowning Prevention

East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service Water Safety

Coast Safe – Devon and Cornwall Police Water Safety

West Mercia Search and Rescue ‘Home and Dry’ campaign

RLSS – Don’t Drink and Drown

RoSPA – Water Safety Advice whilst on holiday

RNLI – Dog Walking Safety Advice

National Chief Fire Officers Drowning Prevention campaign

Safe and Dry – No More River Deaths (Kent Search and Rescue)

National Water Safety Forum

Durham City Council – Don’t Drink and Drown campaign

Carmanthenshire Water Safety Partnership

Kite Surfing & Minnis Bay Sailing Club
Kent Pirates Kite Surfing Group

Over the past 7 days I have been out and about chatting to a couple of really great groups who both use the Thanet coastline for their fantastic activities. The first one being the Kent Pirates Kitesurfing School, who meet at Pegwell Bay. Kitesurfing is growing in popularity at the moment and is a really exhilarating one to learn. This group of kitesurfers were great to chat with and very keen on taking on-board the RNLI key safety messages for their hobby. After finishing my talk, several group members were carrying out their own Big Spring beach clean, which is a testamont to their commitment to helping the local environment and community. The Kitesurfing school recently ran some very popular free sessions for children during the Easter Holidays, backed by Ramsgate Town Council. 

RNLI 9 top key safety messages for kitesurfers are:

  • Always kite with another person.
  • If you go alone, take a means of calling or signalling for help.
  • Never ride out further than you can swim back.
  • Equipment failure does happen. Be prepared.
  • Check the conditions and tides. Don’t go out in conditions you can’t handle.
  • Check what sizes of kites other riders are using. If you do not have the correct size, do not go out.
  • Do not ask or allow someone who is not familiar with kites to help you launch or land – give them some training on how to do it.
  • Always tell someone you are going out and when you will be back.
  • Follow the safety advice from the governing body for kitesurfing, the BKSA, and other expert organisations.

More information on kitesurfing can be found here.

 

Minnis Bay Sailing Club members

My second visit involved delivering a dingy sailing safety talk to the brilliant Minnis Bay Sailing Club. The sailing club runs a very popular supper club for its members twice a month, also inviting along members of the co-hosted windsurfing club. It was to one of their superb supper club meetings I was invited along to.  Twenty five members attended the talk and were treated to me delivering one of the brand new ‘all singing, all dancing’ RNLI Community Safety talks which incorpoates eye catching and thought provoking video’s, infographics; and question and answer slides.  As well as chatting to the members, I was also able to hand out safety literature and the ever popular Respect the Water stickers.  It was a hugely enjoyable evening and I am very grateful to the Commodore and the Club members for hosting me.  Minnis bay Sailing Club are hosting one of the RYA ‘Push the Boat Out’ days on 19th May. These are a magnificant opportunity to try out sailing for free and to take a look around their club and meet it’s fantastic members. If you fancy having a go, then you must book before arriving on the day.

Further information on RNLI top tips on dingy sailing

Directions on how to find Minnis Bay Sailing Club

RYA ‘Push the Boat Out Day’.

Building new relationships to help save lives at sea!
Recent visit to Ride Cycle Hire, Margate

Over the past week has seen our team busy preparing for the start of the Summer. We have been out and about carrying out visits to businesses and local organisations, building new relationships and refreshing others, whereby they can help spread our key safety messages to their customer base. One of these new exciting relationships is with Ride Cycle Hire, Margate. They are situated at Margate Railway Station and hire out cycles to people who want to explore the lovely coastal routes around East Kent. Ride Cycle Hire have agreed to hand out our safety leaflets, stickers and badges with every bike hiring.

Jet Ski World, Hodges Gap, Palm Bay, Margate

A second example of a newly formed relationship is with Jet Ski World, based in Palm Bay, Margate. They run a personal water craft centre, which is particularly busy at weekends and during school holidays.  We are looking at running an engagement briefing with one of our RNLI qualified personal water craft instructors in the near future. Stay tuned to our website for more details.

Viking Bay, Beach Inspector

Our third key meeting was with one of the new Beach Inspectors, Sharon, for Viking Bay, Broadstairs.  The Beach Inspector is absolutely pivotal in helping us get our safety messages out to beach users. The Beach Inspector is employed by the Your Leisure team. Viking Bay, is one of the busiest beaches in Thanet and attracts a large number of visitors during the Summer holiday period. The Beach Inspector will be working in partnership with our RNLI lifeguards who will be on duty from the end of May onwards.

A big thank you to Ride Cycle Hire, Jet Ski World and Sharon the Beach Inspector for their time this week. By continuing to build and sustain these relationships with trusted local businesses, organisations and individuals we are striving to help make Thanet’s coastline a safer place to visit and enjoy.

Useful Links for safety at the coast:

Coastguard Safety Top Tips

Respect the Water

Float Not Swim

Cold Water Shock

Find my nearest lifeguarded beaches

A look behind the scenes – Margate Community Safety Team

I thought it was high time that I let you into a few secrets of what goes on behind the scenes of our RNLI Community Safety Team, here in Thanet out of season.

Even though the season hasn’t started yet, we are still busy getting our plans and projects in place for Summer. One such project which we have been working on for some time now, is the training up of groups and businesses inorder to be able to deploy throw bags (RNLI community responder scheme) along our coastlines and harbours should the need arise.  A previous blog post describes how important and useful the throw bags are in the hands of trained members of the local community in key risk locations.  If you are a business, group or individual that is located close to the sea, river, or coast then why not contact us to see if you could come on board?

Swim Safe

Swim Safe

Another awesome project sees for the very first time ‘Swim Safe’ is beng run on Margate main sands. This is the delivery of free sea swim coaching for the age group 7-14 years in collaboration with Swim England RNLI and Thanet District Council. We know that it’s going to be busy, so follow our website for the booking page ‘go live’ date. Schools will be notified too when more information is available.

Respect the Water being launched 23rd May

The RNLI’s national launch of it’s ‘Respect the Water’ campaign is taking place on 23rd May which will help spread our safety mesages prior to the start of the busy Summer. We are currently working on some really exciting plans for this launch in Thanet, so stay tuned and we will be up-dating our social media channels as soon as plans have been confirmed. We will also be working with a local taxi firm, Central Cars in Broadstairs to spread our key safety messages out to customers via their drivers.  Keep an eye on our Facebook, Twitter or blog posts to find out how you can learn and share these important safety messages.

Community engagement is key in spreading the safety messages

On-going local engagement

Inadditon to the above projects, the team continues to deliver safety briefings to local community groups, undertake ‘Incident Prevention Engagement’ (IPE) at beaches or coastal areas where an incident has recently taken place reminding and educating people concerning tides, calling for help and cold water shock.  Examples of recent IPE deployments have been seen at Kingsgate Bay and Dumpton Gap. These are inaddition to seeking fresh and new engagement opportunties with other local coastal activity and comunity groups.

The Team will also be supporting the National Fire Chiefs Council – Drowning Prevention and Water Safety week 23rd-29th April, where we will be sharing on social media material to highlight that drowning is of the UK’s leading causes of accidental death. Kent Fire and Rescue Service also have a useful section on their website highlighting water safety, it’s definitely worth a read!

Anyway, until next time thanks for reading.

Recent Coastal walking activity talk to Past Rotarians Margate

Other key website links:

UK Coastguard

Download your very own tides ap

Respect the Water – Float to live advert

 

Getting cut off by the tide!
Ramsgate’s Atlantic 85 Inshore Lifeboat

This blog highlight’s the importance of checking the tides before you embark on a lovely walk along the coastline. East Kent Lifeboat crews are regularly called out to persons getting cut-off by the tide at Dumpton Gap, close to Broadstairs.

Handing out doggie treats and safety leaflets at Dumpton Gap

Everyone enjoy’s a walk along the coast, taking in the sea air and spending time with their friends and loved one’s.  Here are just two examples of how lifeboat crews were called to people who were cut-off by the tide: a lady and her two daughters were cut-off by the tide and rescued by the crew of Ramsgate’s Inshore lifeboat (ILB) with Margate’s ILB who were on exercise at the time, who stood-by for support. The full report can be found via Ramsgate RNLI’s Facebook page.  The second incident took place when Ramsgate’s ILB was launched to a report of a lady and a dog cut off by the tide.  Arriving on scene, the lifeboat crew were informed via the Coastguard that the lady and her dog had managed to get ashore and were safe and well. The lady, a local person, also reportedly a strong swimmer reported that she had never seen the tide come in as fast before. Both incidents could have turned out much worse, we want everyone to enjoy their trip to the coast. Please share the important safety messages we have discussed in this blog and follow the top tips below:

Our top 5 tips on how to stay safe at the coast

    How to call the Coastguard

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Our Top 5 web links on how to stay safe whilst at the coast

    Ramsgate tides can be found here.

    Tide times twitter feeds

    More information on staying safe whilst at the coast via the RNLI website

    UK Coastguard safety information website

    UK Tides – mobile phone ap via UK Play for Android