Saturday 1st June marks the start of Volunteers’ Week which is a chance to celebrate and say thank you for the fantastic contribution millions of volunteers make across the UK. Throughout the week we will be introducing you to some of our team members and the contribution they make to preventing incidents and drownings at the coast. Stay tuned to find out more.
Monday 27th May marks the start of the National Boat Fire Safety Week. The aim of this week is to raise awareness of how boaters on both coastal and inland waterways can prevent fire and carbon monoxide incidents and how to plan to react if an incident occur. Many fires and carbon monoxide incidents happen as a result of human error, poor installation of equipment/appliances and on occasion, dangerous practices by boaters.
This is campaign is also backed by the National Fire Chief’s Council and is actively supported by our team. Recently we undertook to ‘walk the pontoons’ at Ramsgate Harbour chatting to boat owners about safety including fire safety onboard their vessel. During this highly important campaign we will be posting some boat fire safety tips on our social media channels.
As part of the re-launch of the RNLI’s Respect the Water drowning prevention campaign our team visited Margate Main Sands on Saturday morning to chat to beach goers . It also signalled the return of the Lifeguard’s patrolling Thanet’s beaches. This was a glorious morning spent refreshing and reminding people about our key safety messages. One of the key messages that we continue to reinforce is that if you should see someone or an animal who appears to be in difficulty in the water, fight your instincts to go in after them and instead call ‘999’ and ask for the Coastguard.
While Summer air temperatures may be warm, UK and Irish waters rarely exceed 15C, making them cold enough year-round to trigger cold water shock, which causes the instinctive reaction to gasp and swim hard, which can quickly lead to drowning.
Our Community Safety Team briefing a coach party at Margate
With around half the coastal deaths each year being people who accidentally slip or fall into the water, the RNLI’s second piece of key advice: If you fall into cold water, fight your instincts to swim hard and thrash about. Instead, float for 60–90 seconds until the effects of cold water shock pass and you can catch your breath before then swimming to safety or calling for help. Find out how to Float to Live by watching Evan’s Story below.
Anyone planning a trip to the coast is advised by the RNLI :
Check the tides before embarking on the trip
Choose a lifeguarded beach and speak with the lifeguard on arrival to find out about local tide times and rips
Swim between the red and yellow flags, which is the area most closely monitored by the lifeguards
If visiting the beach with your children, take a picture of what they are wearing when you arrive, which will make it easier to locate them if they go missing
Establish a meeting point incase you get separated
If a child does goes missing, make sure the remainder of the children in your party are supervised and calmly search the area where they were last seen
Inform the Lifeguards and or Police that the child is missing
Communicate to everyone involved in the search when the child is located
Angling is a seriously popular activity, which is growing yearly. The RNLI estimate that around 1 million people participate in angling around the coast. Unfortunately, between 2011 and 2015, 50 anglers lost their lives whilst fishing around the UK coast*. Sadly, expert evidence suggests that many of those lives might have been saved if the anglers had been wearing lifejackets. You are four times more likely to survive if you are wearing a lifejacket (source Prof Mark Tipton University of Portsmouth)
Check out the video below to see what the the famous fishing guru Henry Gilbey found out about lifejackets when he visited the RNLI College at Poole.
Our top tips to follow when out angling at the coast:
Recently our team met with members of the Margate Coastguard Rescue Team to swop educational drowning prevention and water safety material ahead of the season. This is hugely beneficial so that both teams can share safety messages via an assortment of different innovative material. The Coastguard team can be called out to a wide range of incidents where sometimes they may have the opportunity to impart safety information which could help advise someone to change their behaviour eg wear a fully serviced lifejacket when they venture out on the water or check the tide times before venturing out to the coast. So, having a selection of material to hand out is useful.
Keep an eye out for this free material when we are holding our community safety stands at public events.
More useful HM Coastguard beach safety information can be found here
Saturday saw the fabulous Ramsgate RNLI Fundraisers Mayday Coffee Morning raising funds for new lifeboat crew kit. The coffee morning included free tours around the lifeboats, bric a brac stands, the super RNLI shop, lovely cake and coffee; and of course our Community Safety team sharing key safety messages. It was lovely to see Councillor Raushan Ara (Thanet District Councillor for Ramgsate) pop by and have a chat with our team. Raushan is hugely supportive of our team’s drowning prevention work and that of the RNLI and it was fabulous to have the opportunity to chat with her. Our team hugely enjoyed the morning chatting to visitors about water safety.
One of the most important safety messages we talked about was the recent tidal cut-off’s in and around Kingsgate Bay. Our top tips when visiting the coast are:
Our team will be supporting the Ramsgate RNLI Fundraisers Mayday Coffee Morning on Saturday 11th May 10:00am-1.00pm at Ramsgate Lifeboat Station. The coffee morning includes tours around the boathouse (subject to operational commitments) an RNLI Shop stand, bric-a-brac and of course tea/coffee and cake for just £2.50 a ticket which is all helping to fund the new lifeboat crew kit. Our team will be on hand to share water safety advice, lifejacket checks, learn the best way of ‘calling for help’ in an emergency and how to ‘float to live‘ plus lots more.
More information on the great work that the Ramsgate Fundraisers get up to can be found via this link to their facebook page.
Lifejackets are such an essential piece of lifesaving kit and should be worn whatever water activity you are taking part in at all times. On Sunday, our team visited Ramsgate harbour and carried out lifejacket checks for sailors and crews who were moored up in the harbour. We found some that were well maintained and cared for and also anumber of jackets that were faulty and would not have worked if the wearer had fallen into water and needed to activate them. Here are our top 10 tips on lifejackets:
1. Inspect the outside of the jacket for wear and tear. Take a detailed look at the cover for any damage, webbing, harnesses, crotch straps, sizing and fit.
2. Even if it is a jacket with an inspection window, undoe the lifejacket at the point next to the inflator.
3. Check the gas cylinder is hand tight, or if it’s a bayonet type, is it firmly locked in position.
4. If the lifejacket is new to you, remove the cylinder and check it has not been fired.
5. Replace the cylinder if required.
6. Look for the green coloured indicators on the trigger and if fitted, on the automatic firing system.
7. Keep spare cyclinders and replacement parts for the automatic firing system on hand. So, that the jacket can be re-armed. Or, keep a spare jacket for each person onboard. The replacement parts are relatively inexpensive to purchase.
8. Get the jacket serviced at the manufacturer’s recommended intervals. This is highly recommended.
9. Undertake a thorough inspection of each and every lifejacket at least once a year – more often if the lifejacket is used frequently.
10. Conduct an inflation test of the bladder annually. Inflate the bladder through the oral inflation tube via a low pressure air pump or simply blowing into the tube. Leave inflated for at least 24 hours in a termperature stable environment to check the bladders integrity.
Members of the Community Safety Team chatting to a boat owner during a lifejacket check at Ramsgate Harbour
Visiting the coast whilst on holiday, a short break or just for the day is always a great opportunity to unwind and spend quality time with friends and or the family. Maybe you will take in a bracing coastal walk, take part in some form of water activity or out on the water? Sometimes whilst on holiday people will take risks around water which they wouldn’t normally do. Follow our top 10 tips to enable you to have a safe, but enjoyable time:
Consider signing up for some training before undertaking any form of activity on the water from a recognised training provider
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