Thanet RNLI Community Safety

Have you checked your lifejacket this year yet?

As part of Maritime Safety Week our team will be holding a lifejacket clinic at the Dover Marina Open Weekend on Saturday 6th July between 10am and 4pm. This clinic is totally free and our trained RNLI Community Safety Team members will check your lifejacket.  This check is not supposed to be a substitute for routine servicing and checks carried out by a lifejacket supplier. Please pop down if you are in the area, as recently one of our ‘walk the pontoons’ initiatives highlighted a sailors lifejacket which he had previously been told had been checked and was fit to use by another member of the sailing community.

More useful links

Anglers and Lifejackets

Lifejackets useless unless worn

Lifejacket clinic sends out massive message!

Top 10 lifejacket checks which could save your life!

Coastguard and Lifeguard Team’s Working Together

On Saturday (29th June), we enjoyed a catch-up with members of the Margate HM Coastguard Team and the RNLI Lifeguards who were attending an induction workshop so that they are operationally ready for the forthcoming season. Which if last Summer was anything to go by could be very ‘high tempo’.    It is essential that both teams understand each others operational capabilities and roles as they regularly work closely together at complex multi-agency incidents at the coast.

The HM Coastguard are widely known for their helicopters and their daring sea rescue missions.  However, one of the lesser known Coastguard roles is that of their Rescue Teams based along the coastline.  The teams are all highly trained women and men who are volunteers available round the clock to answer an emergency call.. The Coastguard Rescue Officers (CRO’s) are highly trained in cliff, mud and water rescue; advanced first aid and increasingly deployed in their capacity as search technicians to search for high risk vulnerable missing persons in a variety of environments.

Coastguard Officers about to undertake a cliff rescue exercise

It was great to learn about the range of incidents that the Margate Coastguard Rescue Team can get called out to and also the level of training that an RNLI Lifeguard has to undergo before they are ‘operationally ready’.

It was fantastic to stand shoulder to shoulder with both teams to support Armed Forces Day by holding aloft the flag as pictured above.

More Useful Links:

Know who to call – article on the role of HM Coastguard

Sign-up to our newsletter

HM Coastguard

How to become a lifeguard

HM Coastguard – blogspot

Lucky Escape for dog that fell 25 metres off a cliff

Armed Forces Day in Ramsgate


Members of the team at the Respect the Water stand Ramsgate Armed Forces Day

Armed Forces Day was founded to enable people to show their support for the men and women who make up the Armed Forces community: from currently serving troops to Service families, veterans and cadets. There are a multitude of ways for people, communities and organisations across the country to show their support and get involved, from attending an event or joining us online to throwing a party or local event.  Our team did just that on Saturday by attending the Ramsgate parade and drum head service to show their support and share safety messaging especially important due to the large numbers of people flocking to the beaches due to the lovely weather.



VIP’s, Fire Service and Senior Military officers waiting to join the Ramsgate Armed Forces Day

The parade amassed serving members of the Royal Air Force from the Defence Fire Training and Development Centre at Manston, the Royal Navy Reserve, Soldiers and Non Commissioned Officers from the Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment, Cadets from the Royal Air Force and Royal Navy, members of the British Legion; and local Scout and Cub groups.

One of our key messages that we chatted to the lovely visitors to the parade was ‘Cold Water Shock.  Here is a video which describes what it is and how to survive it. Please share on-line amongst your friends and family it just could help someone’s life!

Further safety links

Evan’s Story – Learn how Evan survived using the Float to Live drill

Armed Forces Day

Respect the Water

Visit Ramsgate tourist information

Ramsgate Lifeboat Station page

Margate Lifeboat RNLI Station page

Check Out The Thanet RNLI Community Safety Blog

The Thanet RNLI Community Safety Blog is the place where we post the latest news about all community events and activities and also share our thoughts and safety advice.

You can visit our blog by clicking on :

Visit and bookmark and connect with us on social media (Facebook, TwitterLinkedIn and Instagram) to stay up to date with all our community safety news.  
As a region, the Thanet RNLI Community Safety team are incredibly proactive, and there are regular updates. 
And if you want to get involved with our community initiatives, or provide some local support in any way possible, you can contact Andy Mills (Community Safety Officer) on


It’s Hot Out There – What To Do If You Get Into Difficulty!

Even over the Summer months, the temperature of the sea will remain around 10 – 14 degree’s, low enough to trigger ‘cold water shock’.  Our team are urging people if they get into difficulty in the water try to fight the urge to panic (thrash around etc) and float on your back until you get your breathing under control.  Watch this video now, it just could help save your life – please share.  #Floattolive #Respectthewater #BeWaterAware

It’s Hot Out There – RNLI – Float to Live Campaign

More useful links:

Find your nearest lifeguarded beach

Float to live campaign

Survivors Story – Evan’s Story

Beach Safety

Cold Water Shock – know the facts

Free swimming lessons at the coast – Swim Safe Margate

Inflatables advice



National Maritime Safety Week 1st – 9th July


What is National Maritime Safety Week?

Maritime Safety Week starts on Monday 1st July, but what is it all about?

On 31st May in a letter to the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport Nusrat Ghani MP (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State Department for Transport) wrote:

“the aim of Maritime Safety Week is to introduce a specific week targeted at safety issues which brings the industry together and provides a focus to highlight all the fantastic work that is already being done on a daily basis to ensure the safety of our seas and inland waterways”.  She added “All users of the maritime environment, from recreational mariners to casual beach goers, need to understand the risks. We recognise that these groups have very different safety needs and requirements and the scope of Maritime Safety Week is similarly broad”.

Ramsgate All Weather Trent Lifeboat “Esme Anderson” (14-02)

Picture credit: Sarah Hewes

What are we doing to support this week?

We will be sharing good practice throughout the week via social meda, looking at safety equipment such as lifejackets, calling for help devices and top tips to help keep you safe whilst on the water and support the RNLI 50% reduction in drownings by 2024.  Our team are also attending the Dover Marina weekend on Saturday 6th July to undertake a lifejacket clinic. So, stay tuned to find out more.

More useful links:

Maritime Safety Week – Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport

Maritime Safety – HM Coastguard – Keeping safe at the coast: lifejacket wear

Society of Maritime Industries – Maritime Safety Week

RNLI – Choose your activity

RNLI Drowning Prevention Strategy – Educate, Influence, Supervise and Rescue those at risk from drowning.

Respect The Water Talk – St George’s School Community Week


Two of the fantastic St George’s students seen here with one of our team – photo credit St George’s School

When our team were invited to deliver anumber of drowning prevention and Respect the Water presentations to school assemblies as part of ‘Community Week’ we really welcomed the opportunity. Especially as it was at the fantastic St George’s Church of England School in Broadstairs which is a really innovative local secondary school.  The Community Week is a really exciting week of activity which includes litter picking, hosting an afternoon tea for members of the elderly, bag packing at a nearby supermarket and helping to tidy gardens at Maurice House (a nearby Royal British Legion residential care home).

As the school Summer holidays are only round the corner the numbers of young people visiting the beach and coast increase dramatically, unfortunately so does the number of people taking risks or getting into trouble.

The assemblies provided a fantastic forum to chat to the students who were all very engaging and enthusiastic to learn how to keep safe at the seaside. We were particularly impressed by the year 4 students who scored 100% in the water safety quiz!


The beach flags

Some of the topics that we covered during the assemblies included:

  • Liam Halls’ very tragic story
  • How to float on your back if you unexpectedly fall into the water
  • What is cold water shock
  • The Water Safety Code
  • To call the Coastguard via ‘999’ for all coastal emergencies
  • The dangers of tombstoning – to year 7 & 8
  • Don’t enter the water if you see someone else or an animal in difficulty
  • Beach flags
  • How to access free swimming lessons at Margate this year
  • Spot the dangers at the coast
  • Lifeguarded beaches
  • Tide cut-off’s


We thoroughly enjoyed visiting the school and delivering the presentations to the students who we wish well for the remainder of their Community Week.  Thank you for inviting us to your fantastic school.

More useful links:

How to find your nearest lifeguarded beach

How to Float to Live

St George’s School, Broadstairs

Educational resources – RNLI

Swim Safe – free children’s swmming lessons

Picture credits: St George’s School



The Water Savvy Day – Water Safety At Bewl Water

The Water Savvy Day is held yearly at Bewl Water, Lamberhurst, Kent. It is organised jointly by Kent Fire and Rescue Service; and East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service. The aim of this free fun day is to learn about how to stay safe around water.  Our team thoroughly enjoyed working with the Gravesend Community Safety team on the day to share key safety messages about how to stay safe at the beach and coast.  Some these will be mentioned later on.

Leanne McMahon, Group Manager for Community Safety at Kent Fire and Rescue Service, says about the day: “Our Water Savvy Fun Day is a fun day out for all the family, providing a rare glimpse into the fire services’ water rescue capabilities, and an opportunity to learn really important lifesaving skills.  “Water safety is really important to us, and we are working hard to educate residents and visitors to the area about the dangers and how to stay safe while still enjoying being in and around water.”


One of our Gravesend colleagues chatting to children during the Water Savvy Day

The day was jam packed with plenty of activities and demonstrations including: the inter Fire and Rescue Service water rescue competition which this year was won narrowly by East Sussex; and Kent Police’s drone was put through it’s operational paces. Crowds were also treated to a display by the Police’s Marine and Diving Unit,  as well as the fabulous Newfoundland Rescue Dogs, hands-on practical CPR skills with the Royal Lifesaving Soiety, further demonstrations from the Kent Lowland Search and Rescue team, Seaford Lifeguards and Sussex Flood Unit.


Fire & Rescue Service water rescue competition

Our RNLI Community Safety stand proved very popular with children and adults like.  Some of the key messages we highlighted included:

Follow the Water Safety Code 

  • Stop & Think (Look for dangers and always read the signs)
  • Stay together – never swim alone, always go with friends or family
  • Call ‘999’ or ‘112’ ask for the Coastguard (at the coast) Fire Service (rivers, canals & inland waterways) and shout for help
  • If you do fall into the water unexpectedly ‘Float on your back and try to hold onto something that floats,


The Water Savvy Day is such a great day to learn more about water safety, but also enjoy the wonderful Bewl Water. Keep an eye out for future Water Savvy Day events as they are great fun for all the family.

One of the fabulous Newfoundland dogs enjoying a rest after a rescue demo

More useful links:

Royal Lifesaving Society – top tips on drowning prevention

Learn how to Float to Live

Find the nearest lifeguarded beach

Learn more about free swim lessons

Book free swimming lessons in the sea – Swim Safe

Bewl Water

HM Coastguard – Beach Safety

Walmer Lifeboat Station Open Day

A member of the Deal HM Coastguard Team kitted ready to deploy on the joint RNLI and Coastguard water rescue exercise at Walmer RNLI Station Open Day

Last weekend saw our team out and about covering anumber of events.  On Saturday morning, three of the team made the short journey to Walmer to support the fantastic annual lifeboat station open day providing a lifejacket clinic and sharing drowing prevention advice in support of the Royal Lifesaving Society Drowning Prevention week.  

Members of our Team with their Drowning Prevention & Lifejacket stand

The annual lifeboat station open day is a fantastic opportunity to get up close to both of the station’s Atlantic 85 and ‘D’ class inshore lifeboats, as well as being able to chat to the volunteer crew about their lifesaving work.  The open day also helps raise much needed funds towards the running and up-keep of the Lifeboat station.


The open day this year featured static displays from the Community First Responders, Deal HM Coastguard Team who are highly trained in mud, cliff and water rescue as well as advanced first aid and high risk missing person searching; Kent Fire and Rescue Service, the British Divers Marine Life Rescue team. The open day operated alongside the Walmer Churches Summer Fete who provided some very enjoyable choral entertainment.

Deal Carnival Queen’s supporting Respect the Water badges on their sashes

The lifeboat crew also took part in a mock rescue in the arena and also out on the water with the help of the Dover All-Weather Lifeboat. A thoroughly brilliant day showcasing the fabulous lifesaving capabilities of the volunteer lifeboat crews and HM Coastguard.   A special mention must be made of all people involved behind the scenes that work tirelessly to make a lifeboat station open day a huge success: the fundraisers, cake bakers, refreshment providers, lifeboat shop staff and children’s painting table/entertainment.

Front page picture credit: Sarah Hewes

Some useful links:

Learn how to float to live

Future medic courses run by British Dives Marine Life Rescue

About the HM Coastguard

Kent Fire & Rescue Service

Community First Responders

Walmer RNLI Station facebook page

How Do I Prevent Being Cut-Off By The Tide?

Getting cut-off by the tide is pretty easy to do unless you take some sensible precautions and plan ahead before you set off.  All around the UK and Ireland there are areas that get cut-off by the tide very easily. Each year Ramsgate and Margate lifeboat crews are called to rescue people cut-off by the tide majority of the time around the Botany Bay, Kingsgate Bay, Stone Bay and Dumpton Gap areas.

Over half of the people we speak to when out and about don’t know to call ‘999’ or ‘112’ and ask for the Coastguard in any coastal emergency.


Here are our top 10 tips to help you from being cut-off from the tide

  1. Always check the tide times before venturing out via ‘tides near me’ or the BBC Weather page
  2. Tell someone where you are going and when you will be back
  3. Carry a means of calling for help such as a fully charged mobile phone or VHF radio
  4. Consider downloading the free RYA ap called SafeTrx that helps let people know your route
  5. Wear the right clothing and equipment for the activity
  6. Check and be mindful of local hazard warning signs
  7. Be aware of your surroundings at all times, eg when the tide is due in and dangerous cliff edges
  8. If you see or hear someone or an animal in danger at the coast dial ‘999’ or ‘112’ straight away  and ask for the Coastguard giving an accurate location
  9. Do not enter the water if you get cut-off by the tide
  10. If you do end up in the water unexpectedly, float on your back rather than panicking
tidalcutoff thanetrnlicommunitysafety RNLI Lifeboats drowningprevention RLSS ROSPA watersafety
Kingsgate Bay, Broadstairs – Tidal Cut-Off High Risk area

More useful links

Ramsgate Lifeboat Station

How To Float To Live – Evan’s Story

HM Coastguard Beach Safety

Where Can I Find The Nearest Lifeguard Beach

Why inflatables are not for use at the Beach – Thanet RNLI Community Safety Team

Helping to deter tidal cut-off’s in Thanet


Do You Like To Cool Off In Open Water During Hot Weather? How To Spot The Hazards.


Let’s face it when the temperatures rise and we struggle to cool down, the thoughts of a nice cooling dip with friends in a river, canal, lake, reservoir or quarry is very tempting.

Let’s start off by looking at the dangers of open water swimming in reservoir’s below:

United Utilities Youtube Video on the dangers of swimming in reservoirs

The Royal Lifesaving Society (RLSS) have highlighted some of the dangers of open-water swimming below:

  • Height – at which you jump into the water – sometimes called tombstoning
  • The Depth of the water – can change depending on the season and is unpredictable
  • Submerged objects – may not be visible such as rocks, vegetation, rubbish thrown into the water such as shopping trolley’s and pedal cycles
  • Obstacles – people using the the waterway such as anglers, swimmers or kayackers
  • Lack of safety equipment – as well as the increased difficulty to carry out a rescue eg remote location, increased hazards, no mobile phone signal or no lifeguards
  • Cold water shock – will make swimming very challenging and increase the difficulty in someone getting out of the water
  • Strong currents – can sweep even the strongest swimmers away
  • River beds – unlike swimming pools, are uneven and vary in depth
  • Water quality varies – can be subject to industrial and agricultural pollution.

With careful organisation and planning ahead the risks detailed above can be controlled.

The following video made by the RLSS tells the story of families who have sadly lost their loved ones in drowning incidents. Please have a watch.

Beneath the Surface – the families’ stories

Thank you for reading and we hope this article has helped you understand the dangers of swimming in open water. More useful links can be found below:

Sign up to our monthly newsletter to find out more about our lifesaving work

‘Doing It For Dylan’ – Becky Ramsey’s inspiring campaign to share drowning prevention messages after her son tragically lost his life to drowning

Canal and River Trust Safety Information

RLSS Drowning Prevention Week

East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service – Open Water Safety Swimming Advice

United Utilities Safety advice – Reservoir Safety Advice

Full acknowledgements to the RLSS, United Utilities; RNLI, Canal and Rivert Trust for the use of material

Lifejacket Clinic At Walmer Lifeboat Station Open Day


Our team are excited to be attending Walmer Lifeboat Station Open Day on Saturday 22nd June to undertake a lifejacket clinic. This is part of our support for the Royal Lifesaving Society Drowning Prevention Week 14th-24th June.

More information on how to look after your lifejacket and to ensure that it works when it is needed

Drowning Prevention Week

How to get to Walmer RNLI Station