Thanet RNLI Community Safety

Broadstairs Water Gala resounding success

Broadstairs Water Gala is such a magnificent event showcasing everything that is great about the British seaside including Punch and Judy, Teddy Bear Picnic, Sea Shanties, Walkabout characters to name a few.  The programme of events is truly fantastic and is testamont to the hardwork and dedication of the volunteers and the organisations that help support the event year in year out.  Since the 1970’s Ramsgate Lifeboats have also attended the event and the tradition has continued ever since.

Our Community Safety Team are always very happy to support community events and the Water Gala is no exception. We were also joined by the great fundraising team who raise much needed funds to help keep the RNLI carrying out it’s lifesaving work, the Education Team and Face 2 Face team.  Both the Inshore and All Weather Lifeboats also moored up on the harbour, but unfortunately were unable to show visitors around the boat due to the sea being too rough.

Ramsgate Mayor Raushan Ara (centre) pictured with John Homer (left) and Ian Lockyer (right), beside our Community Safety Stand Water Gala Day

What was really interesting to note that the majority of young people we chatted to during the day had heard about the RNLI’s Float to Live lifesaving concept (float on your back if you fall into the water unexpectedly or get into difficulty).  This was very poignant as two young people who had been swept out to sea on an inflatable earlier in the week off Foreness Point who had been rescued by lifeboat and lifeguards. The young people had been told about the ‘Float to Live’ drill only a couple of days before by one of the RNLI Face 2 Face teams and remembered it. This was really great to hear that the ‘Float to Live’ concept was used in a lifesaving situation by these young people.

Our Safety Selfie frame was put to good use with the Ramsgate RNLI Press Officer Karen Cox and the Ramsgate Mayor Raushan Ara.

A thoroughly valuable day supporting the magnificent Water Gala and at the same time sharing the key safety messages which will help keep the community and visitors safe at the coast.

Picture credit: Karen Cox – RNLI Ramsgate Press Officer (All Weather Lifeboat)

Other useful links:

How to book Swim Safe – free swiming lessons at Margate main sands

How to float to live

Why inflatables are not good for the seaside!

Every Summer RNLI and HM Coastguard Rescue Teams are called out to people who have been swept out to sea on inflatables which are inherently not designed for the sea environment.  Recently there has been an increase in their popularity due to the men’s and ladies England football teams posing with unicorn inflatables at an indoor pool.

The RNLI’s safety advice if you do use them in the sea:

  • ensure children are closely supervised
  • keep near the shore
  • only use between the red and yellow beach flags
  • follow the lifeguard’s advice
  • do not take inflatables out in big waves
  • never use them when the orange windsock is flying, as this indicates offshore winds which will blow inflatables further out to sea
  • if you do get into difficulty, then stay with your inflatable as it will keep you above the water.

More useful safety links

Find your nearest lifeguarded beach

Inflatables safety advice – Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents

RLSS – water safety at the beach – top 10 safety tips

Acknowledgements to RNLI, RoSPA and RLSS

Margate’s Swim Safe kicks off with a flying start!

Margate’s Swim Safe kicked off with a flying start today (Monday 22nd July) by welcoming participants to it’s first session of the Summer.   With the school summer holiday’s in full swing for the majority of families’ children flocked to Margate main sands to learn for free how to swim outdoors and to stay safe in the water.  As the temperatures hit the twenty eight degree mark the local MP for Thanet North, Sir Roger Gale joined one of the sessions enjoying a dip in the sea whilst learning how to float to live.  The session was also joined by Councillor George Kup.


Sir Roger Gale said in his Facebook post “I learnt alot about how to stay safe in the water. It’s a great opportunity to make sure our children enjoy the water safely and sessions are completely free”.

Swim Safe runs every Monday and Friday throughout the summer holidays. Participants must be aged 7-14 years and able to swim 25 metres unaided. 

How to book a place go to Swim Safe – Margate

More information on Margate Swim Safe

How To Pack The Best Beach Picnic – Our Top 10 Tips

You may have travelled to the beach for a lovely day. After you are finally ensconced and you and your family have started enjoying the surroundings, before you know it will be time to grab some lunch.  Coming prepared with a few items is always a good move that can be stored until you want to eat. Especially when you have a young family who need fuelling up after some energetic beach activity.  Packing a picnic for the beach is not like packing one for a countryside picnic as there is the sand and wind to contend with and some foods hold up better than others.

We have come up with a few ideas on what some of our team include in their family beach picnic’s.

  1.  Sausage rolls (vege or meat)
  2.  Cocktail sausages (vege or meat)
  3.  Tuna baguettes or wraps
  4.  Baby tomatoes
  5.  Variety of crisps or peanuts
  6.  Humous and or other dips
  7.  Carrotts and cucumber sliced for dipping
  8.  Water/flavoured squash
  9.  Fruit
  10.  Cookies or small cakes

Here’s a quick reminder about beach flags and the Water Safety Code:

We hope you have a great time at the beach and enjoy your picnic.

Other useful links:

Sign-up to our Community Safety team newsletter

Inflatables – what are the issues? Royal Society for the prevention of accidents (RoSPA)

Find out how to book free swimming lessons for children aged 7-14 years – Swim Safe

Are you water wise? Check out the quiz – RoSPA

Our Ultimate Packing List – Top 20 Things To Take To The Beach This Summer

As the temperatures rise and the school Summer holidays get into full swing, families flock to the seaside to enjoy the delights of the beach.  Many will enjoy paddling or swimming in the sea, exploring rock pools, building the best sandcastles ever, hurling a frisbee, or playing a fun game of cricket or rounders.  What is there not to like about that I hear you ask?  However, if you don’t plan your day at the beach it could turn out to be not so enjoyable.  We have also included some top safety tips.


To help avoid you having a less than enjoyable day our team have come up with their ‘Ultimate Packing List’ (top 20 things) to pack for the beach this Summer.  The list is by no means exhaustive and you may want to add extra items or take things away depending on families age, your length of stay or space you have available in your transport.

  1.  Sun cream
  2.  Pop-up tent/beach umbrella
  3.  Sun hats
  4.  Bottles of water/cool bags/picnic/snacks
  5.  Bucket and spade (goes without saying)
  6.  Swimming costumes
  7.  Beach towels
  8.  Picnic blanket
  9.  Good sized beach bag/festival trolley
  10.  Buoyancy aids such as water woggles, arm bands, lifejacket etc
  11.  Windbreak – not only to protect you from the wind but to provide some extra privacy
  12.  Fleeces (if it turns out to be alittle breezey)
  13.  Bat, balls, frisbee, beach cricket set
  14.  Spare toilet paper
  15.  Beach chairs
  16.  Good book or E-book reader
  17.  Zip-lock bags to keep clean clothes clean and dry
  18.  Mobile phone for those all important photograph’s
  19.  Hand sanitizer
  20.  Crabbing net

To make your beach trip a super safe one take a look at the top tips we’ve included:

  1.  Visit a lifeguarded beach
  2.   Stop and Think – look for dangers, always read the signs
  3.  STAY TOGETHER – Never swim alone. Always go with friends or family
  4.  In an emergency CALL ‘999’ or ‘112’ ask for the Coastguard – shout for help
  5.  FLOAT – If you fall in, float or swim on your back.

We hope that you have a fun and safe time at the beach.

More useful information:

Schools Out For The Summer – top 10 things that we enjoy about the seaside

Find your nearest lifeguarded beach

Beach Safety – HM Coastguard

What to do if you are stung by a jelly fish

Inflatables are not designed for the beach

Visiting the coast whist on holiday – know what to do in a coastal emergency


Schools Out For The Summer – Top 10 Things We Enjoy About The Seaside

How does Alice Cooper’s 1972 song go …….”School’s out for the Summer!”…..  Many schools have now finally broken up for the Summer.  With the mass Summer holiday getaway well underway, we thought we would share with you our team’s top 10 things they love to do whilst at the seaside:

1.  Enjoy a lovely swim or paddle at a lifeguarded beach

You don’t have to be an olympic swimmer to enjoy the sea, some people enjoy a gentle paddle just as much. Letting the water wash over your feet and legs is a fantastically relaxing thing to do.  Have a look out for the red and yellow flags these will designate where the safest place is to swim or enjoy your activity. More info on beach safety.

2.  Enjoy a nice book to relax and unwind?

We love a great novel especially when sat on the beach enjoying time with the family.  Charles Dickens spent his Summer holidays in the 1850’s and 1860’s in Broadstairs and is reported to have written ‘Bleak House’ there.  We especially love our crime thrillers, but which book would you like to take to the beach?

3.  Have a go at a new sport?

Some members of our team love their coastal water sports.  Why not try out a new sport : surfing, kayacking, stand-up paddle boarding, diving, coasteering and personal water craft (often referred to as jet skiing) have all increased in popularity in recent years.  There are plenty of approved school’s and activity centre’s that run taster or starter courses all around the coast. More helpful safety advice from the RNLI can be found here

4.  Rock pooling

Challenge your family to see who can spot the most unusual creatures. The best time to get to the beach is at low tide as it’s the best time to look for hermit, shore or porcelain crabs and sea anemone.  Some of the creatures can be fragile so be alittle careful.  Before you head down check the tides and be aware of your surroundings at all times as tides can come in without you noticing.  More tides info: Tides Near Me


5.  Swim Safe – Margate Main Sands

Swim Safe is running at Margate Main Sands this year again. Incase you haven’t heard it is free swimming coaching for children aged 7-14 years in the sea with qualified and experienced swim teachers.  Your child must be able to swim 25 metres in a pool unaided before attending. Book your child’s place here

6. Visit a Lifeboat Shop or lifeboat station

Each Lifeboat station has their very own shop which is open during the Summer holidays.  These are located either at the lifeboat station or very close by. They sell a whole range of fantastic RNLI goodies which help to enable the RNLI continue to carry out his essential lifesaving work. Find out more about Kent’s lifeboat stations by checking out our website useful links page

7. Enjoy an ice cream

Our team love their ice cream.  There’s plenty to choose from in and around Broadstairs, Margate and Ramsgate’s beaches.  What is your favourite you enjoy?  John one of our Comunity Safety Advisors loves his ice cream cone with a flake and strawberry sauce.  Andy loves a choc ice.

8.  Build a sandcastle

Sandcastle building is such a fun activity to do with your children.  Andy (one of our Team) enjoyed building sandcastles with his son and digging a moat around the castles when they were built.

9. Coastal Walking

Taking a lovely beach or coastal early morning walk or perhaps one during the evening is such a fabulous thing to do. It is such as relaxing activity whilst enjoying the sea air and the sights and sounds of the coast.  Some bays can get cut-off very easily in our area of Kent (Kingsgate, Botany, Dumpton Gap, Stone Bay and environs) so it is advisable to have a look before you go out at the Tides Near Me App, check local hazard warning signs and carry a fully charged mobile phone incase you need to call for help. Have a great walk!

10.  How many times can you skim a stone?

How many bounces can you do? Flat or smooth stones are the best in our opinion for skimming in the sea and there’s plenty to be found on the beach. We love challenges, so why not hold your own family competition and see who wins. Maybe the winner gets an ice cream?

We hope you’ve enjoyed our top 10 list. As Joel one of our Community Safety Advisors says “what is there not to like about the beach”.  What are your 10 ten things that you like to do?  Have a great time whatever you choose to do! Happy holidays!

More useful links:

Sign-up to our newsletter

Find your nearest lifeguarded beach

Swim Safe – free children’s swimming lessons

HM Coastguard Beach Safety

Visiting the coast on holiday – know what to do in a coastal emergency

What to do if you are stung by a jelly fish?

Jelly fish stings are very common at this time of the year due to the large influx of visitors to the coast.They are considered to be part of the plankton, which means that they can’t swim against the current. They can get carried ashore when the wind, waves and current carry them there. 

Our lifeguard colleagues are frequently asked to treat jelly fish stings. So, to dispel any of those ‘old wives tales’ and to help those extremely busy Hospital Accident Departments we have included advice below :

Obtain help if possible either from a lifeguard or someone with 1st aid training.

 If help is not available:

• Rinse the affected area with sea water (not fresh water)

• Remove any spines from the skin using the edge of a bank card or tweezers

• Soak the area in very warm water (as hot as can be tolerated) for at least 30 mins. Test the water before you put someone else’s hand in the water

• Use hot towels if you can’t soak it

• Take pain killers like paracetamol or ibuprofen (If not allergic)


• Use vinegar

• Do not wee on the sting

• Do not apply ice or a cold pack

• Do not touch the spines with your bare hands

• Don’t cover or close the wound

Go to a Minor Injuries Unit if you have :

• severe pain that is not going away

• have been stung on your face or testicles

• been stung by a sting ray

Nearest NHS Minor Injuries Unit can be found via


NHS England

RNLI Lifeguards

Busy Saturday for Thanet’s RNLI Community Safety Team

Saturday morning saw our team visit the lovely Margate main sands to chat to visitors about beach and coastal safety. The weather was cloudy to start, but with hopes of an appearance of some sunshine the crowds still flocked to the beach.  Several weeks ago two children went missing on this same beach. So one of the first tasks was to meet up with some of the coach parties and issue the children with wristbands carrying their parental/guardians contact telephone number. In the event of them going missing it would be easier to reunite the child with their parent. At the same time we also chatted about how to stay safe whilst on the beach which included:

1. Swim between the red and yellow flags

2. Talk to the lifeguard for up-to-date tidal information

3. Float on your back if you get into difficulty in the water

4. Children to be continuously supervised whilst in the water or at the shore line

5. Report to the lifeguard if you get separated from your parent/guardian

 Ramsgate Harbour

The second half of the day was spent ‘walking the pontoons’ at Ramsgate Harbour. This involves chatting to boat owners who are moored up and checking their lifejackets. Twelve jackets were checked and anumber were found to have out-of-date firing mechanisms.

A list of life jacket checks that you could undertake can be found on one of our earlier blogs. A thoroughly successful day helping to keep people safe whilst enjoying the coast.

How Should You Treat A Weever Fish Sting?

Picture credit : RNLI Lifeguards

Weever fish are plain looking fish and are very common during the Summer months around the UK shore line. Often they nestle in the sand and in water just a few centimetres deep.  A weever fish will raise a sharp spine on it’s back in self defence if it is trodden upon.  Here are some top tips from our Lifeguard colleagues:

  • Place the effected area in water as hot as you can stand it for around 30 minutes. This will destroy the protein based venom and will allow you to continue your day at the beach. Test the water first so as not to scald the person who has been stung.
  • Whilst the stings are painful they are generally nothing to worry about and will not cause any significant damage

There are far greater risks and hazards associated with the coastal environments: the tides, water movement and the effects of cold water shock.

It is always recommended to visit a lifeguarded beach where trained lifeguards are available for advice for all things beach safety and first aid incase you are stung by a weever fish.

More useful information:

Where can I find my nearest lifeguarded beach?

Our blog about Cold Water Shock

How the RNLI keeps beaches safe

Discover more information about waves


RNLI Lifeguards

Lifejacket Clinic at Dover Open Marina Weekend proves a success

Dover Open Marina Weekend is a fantastic opportunity to have a detailed look around the workings of a busy marina as well as enjoy a tour of the Dover lifeboat. When we were invited by the Dover Lifeboat Coxswain James Clapham to hold a lifejacket clinic at this fantastic event we jumped at the chance.  Inaddition to supporting the Maritime Safety Week which showcased maritime safety good practise.

Running a lifejacket clinic is an invaluable way of helping the sailing community to keep safe by checking their lifejackets to ensure they work if they were needed and secondly to pass on some tips to help keep them in a good condition incase they are required to be deployed . The checks we carry out are not meant to replace a full service that a service agent or manufacturer would carry out which we recommend that you undertake on a yearly basis.

The RNLI have teamed up with the marine insurance company GJW Direct to support our lifejacket clinic’s nationally and are now a commercial partner.

During the lifejacket clinic our team checked forty five lifejackets with seventeen failing for a variety of reasons. These were out of date firing mechanisms, rusty or corroded gas cyclinders, decaying jackets which will have been left in damp conditions, already fired and missing cylinders.  We also noticed that anumber were missing crotch straps which are absolutely essential for the safe and effective deployment of the jacket if you ended up in the water.

A thoroughly enjoyable day chatting to visitors and passing on our key safety messages to help keep people safe whilst at the coast.  We would like to pass on our thanks to James Clapham (Coxswain) and the rest of the Dover Lifeboat Station for making us hugely welcome.

Our top 10 tips on how to keep your lifejacket serviceable

  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. Don’t forget jackets for your dog(s) if you take them on a voyage!
  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.

More useful links on lifejackets:

The RNLI’s complete guide to lifejackets

How to choose a lifejacket and maintain it – RNLI

Lifejackets Useless Unless Worn – Thanet RNLI CS

How to book a free RNLI lifejacket clinic

Dover Lifeboat Station

GJW Direct

What are the advantages of an EPIRB (Electronic Position Indicator Radio Beacon)

What is an EPIRB ?(Electronic Position Indicator Radio Beacon)

An EPIRB works in a similar way to that of a Personal Locator Beacon (PLB). The EPIRB is activated when a sailor gets into difficulty out at sea.  The EPIRB uses the search and rescue satellites to send a digital message (including your unique number) to the Coastguard that clearly indicates that you’re in trouble.

What frequency does it work on?

406MHz distress frequency. It also operates using a 121.5MHz frequency, which means lifeboats can home in on the device once they get closer. The beacon is a recognised way of ‘calling for help’ by Search and Rescue services.

Registration of the EPIRB

You must register the EPIRB with the vessel you are using. It is not registered to a person like a PLB, and if you change vessel, then you will have to re-register. You can register your EPIRB here

How long will the battery last in an EPIRB?

Normally for a minimum of 48 hours.

What happens if the EPIRB is activated and help is needed?

The distress signals are passed to the Mission Control Centre (MCC) in the National Maritime Operations Centre (NMOC) in Fareham. They will first attempt to call you using your contact information to check it’s not a false alarm. If it’s not they will launch a rescue operation. The 406MHz system gives the Coastguard a much more accurate idea of your position (if GPS enbled they will track your vessels position to within 100m.

What happens if the EPIRB is not GPS enabled?

If not GPS enabled it could take 90 minutes to get a fix); they will also know what to look for from your registered information and will be on the way much more quickly – 406MHz beacons show up quicker than the old 121.5MHz ones.

Key features of an EPIRB:

  • can be float-free, automatic or manual
  • must be registered with HM Coastguard
  • always choose a GPS-enabled EPIRB
  • can be dropped next to a ‘man overboard’ to mark their position
  • fitted with a flashing light
  • radio direction finding equipment can be fitted and used to home in on to beacon

Each year on 4th April ‘406 Day’ is celebrated, a national campaign run by NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) to spread awareness of the importance of emergency position indicating radio beacons, or EPIRBS, and personal locator beacons, or PLBs, in marine safety

How to use my EPIRB?

Make sure your EPIRB is up-right in the water and not on it’s side.  Once you have switched it on leave it operating, do not switch it off.

What happens if I accidentally activate the EPIRB? 

If you accidentally activate your EPIRB inform the HM Coastguard straight away. The advice is not to switch it off until the Coastguard ask you to.

How to look after your EPIRB

Examine your EPIRB’s condition on a monthly basis and perform a self-test. Follow the manufacturer’s self-test instructions to the letter, to avoid sending a false alarm. Replace the battery when required.

Need more help with registering?

Contact The UK Beacon Registry
Telephone: 01326 211569
Fax: 01326 319264

More useful information

New National Maritime Operations Centre HM Coastguard

RNLI complete guide to EPIRB’s

Skipper rescued off Salcombe had done all the right things!

Distress alerts helps HM Coastguard yacht rescue in rough seas

HM Coastguard – office access and opening times


HM Coastguard


Ocean Signal

Mayor of Ramsgate – Civic Reception

Two members of our Community Safety Team were privileged and honoured to attend the Mayor of Ramsgate, Councillor Raushan Ara’s Civic Reception at the Salvation Army Hall on Thursday evening. The evening marked the official Mayoral ‘Declaration of Acceptance of Office’.  A large number of the community were invited along from a variety of fantastic groups to celebrate it along with local diginitaries and former Mayor’s.  It was fantastic to have the Mayor’s respective Chaplain’s conduct prayers: Carl Whitewood (Lieutenant Corps/Church Leader Salvation Army), Nasir Hurue (Al-Birr Community Centre and Mosque), Fr John Chater (St George the Martyr, Ramsgate) and Rabbi Cliff Cohen (Thanet and District Reform Synagogue).

A wide range of community groups who do so much to help the local area were awarded certificates of appreciation from the Town Mayor including the organiser of the Ramsgate International Film Festival, Friends of Ellington Park, Winterstoke Association, Thanet Winter Shelter and the Ramsgate Art Group to name a few.  We were thrilled to learn that the Mayor has selected the RNLI Ramsgate as one of her chosen charities for her term of office.

We would like to pass on our sincere thanks to Councillor Raushan Ara, the Town Council Clerk and Staff for organising the event and for inviting us along. We would like to wish Councillor Ara well in her term of office as the Worshipful Mayor of Ramsgate Town.

Useful links

Ramsgate Town Council

Friends of Ellington Park

Sign-up to Thanet RNLI Community Safety Team newsletter