Thanet RNLI Community Safety

Lifting the lid on Thanet’s Lifeguard and Lifesaving Clubs – Part 1 Thanet Lifeguard Club

Thanet has enjoyed a long history of lifeguard and lifesaving club’s along it’s coastline. Over the years some of it’s members have gone onto become RNLI lifeguards who help keep the beaches safe throughout the Summer months. This blog is designed to lift the lid on the area’s respective clubs and also to give the reader a better understanding on what it takes to become a beach lifeguard.

Two clubs currently exist one being the Thanet Lifeguard Club and secondly the Broadstairs Surf Lifesaving Club. Both clubs are very friendly, enjoy a varied programme of events throughout the year and have some of the most experienced and highly trained beach lifeguard/lifesaving instructors in the area.  It is the Thanet Lifeguard Club that we shall focus the first blog in this series.

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Thanet Lifeguard Club activities and history

Thanet Lifeguard Club which is affliated to the Royal Lifesaving Society (RLSS) was formed in 1973, before then local swimming clubs supported lifesaving and Ramsgate had it’s own voluntary Lifeguard Corps that patrolled Ramsgate main sands and Western Undercliff during the summer months.

Fast forward to today, Thanet Lifeguard Club is multi-faceted, with its prime focus on learning survival/lifesaving skills and drowning prevention. Delivering a myriad of RLSS awards to age groups ranging from 7 yrs through to adults. The club run two weekly training sessions, Upton school for Rookie Lifeguards and Hartsdown Leisure Centre for Survive and Save programme, both incorporating dry and wet skills.

Educational Outreach Work

The club is proactive in its educational outreach work within the community. Delivering bespoke presentations and talks to wide audiences such as junior schools, cycling clubs and the Women’s Institute amongst others. The subject matter is also diverse including drowning prevention in all aquatic environments, personnel survival, life-support and the lifesaving sport.

Representing the club at Lifesaving Sport

The club has always been represented at all levels in Lifesaving Sport, both in the pool and open sea’s gaining a multitude of national medals over the years. Last year saw one its members compete on the Commonwealth stage.

What are the benefits of being a member?

The benefits of being a member of a lifesaving or lifeguard club are varied.  Not only will you learn new lifesaving skills and knowledge, you will be also putting something back into the community by helping others learn lifesaving skills such as CPR and other emergency first aid.

You will also improve significantly your personal fitness by taking part in regular pool training sessions and fitness activity, participate in fun beach activities, meet a new group of people many of whom will become friends for life, develop team building skills, compete in competitions, get out into the fresh air on ‘wet’ coastal training sessions thereby increasing your allround wellbeing; and give you skills which will help develop you for future careers or life experiences.

 

The club also helps facilitate lifesaving courses which enable candidates to apply to become RNLI qualified lifeguards and refresh their qualifications once qualified so that they can effectively perform operational duties across the RNLI Thanet and Swale footprint during Summer months.

Where is the club based?

The beach is where the club originated, over the years the club has had many homes and currently has it’s club house on Westbrook beach delivering courses, sporting activities and supporting safety.

Community Engagement

The club and its members also engage with other agencies at local, regional and national level, promoting drowning prevention. These include RNLI Community Safety Team, RNLI Margate Lifeboat, Dreamland Margate, Community Pastors, HM Coastguard Margate, Westgate-on-Sea Town Council, RLSS Commonwealth and the RLSS Kent Branch.

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Thanet LG Club members assisting the RNLI Community Safety Team & Community Pastors with the Don’t Drink and Drown campaign Photo credit: Thanet RNLI CST

Don’t Drink and Drown

One of the yearly events that the club has been actively supporting is the Royal Lifesaving Society (RLSS) ‘Don’t Drink and Drown’ campaign. Club members join forces with other local community groups, Kent Fire and Rescue Service, the RNLI and HM Coastguard Margate. Whereby they share the drowning prevention message by visiting bars and clubs in Ramsgate and Margate speaking with bar staff, door supervisors and customers about the key safety messages: don’t walk home alone past open water and don’t enter the water after having an alcoholic drink.

 

Future Development

Thanet Lifeguard Club is looking to the future to develop a sustainable teaching framework and a committee with a sustaining legacy to take the club forward. New initiatives and ideas are always being introduced which show the enthusiasm of its members to reach out and embrace the community.

Are you interested in supporting the Club?

Thanet Lifeguard Club is wholly voluntary and self-funding.  If you are an individual or an organisation who maybe interested in supporting the club and it’s objectives, please contact: Neil Morgan via email: neil@thanetlifeguardclub.co.uk for an informal chat.

Beach Lifeguard courses – National Vocational Lifeguard Qualification (NVBLQ)

The course is a minimum of 40 hours long followed by a practical assessment on beach theory, life support, first aid, swimming pool practical and open water practical.  Upon qualifying with the NVBLQ, the certificate is valid for two years from the date of successful completion.

Benefits

  • The NVBLQ is internationally recognised, so potential to work and travel
  • Work within a team
  • Great way for students to fund studies
  • Learn essential life skills, including First Aid and CPR

The RLSS National Vocational Beach Lifeguard Qualification (NVBLQ) will be running over Easter this year : Sat 11th. Sun 12th. Mon 13th. Sat 18th. Sun 19th. Sun 26th April inclusive. Find out more information or book a place on the course .

Every candidate attending an NVBLQ course must:

    • Be 16-years-old or over at the time of the assessment
    • Have a good level of fitness
    • Surface dive to a depth of 1.5 metres
    • Tread water for two minutes
    • Climb out of deep water unaided and without steps
    • Be competent at swimming in the sea
    • Before the course, candidates must be able to swim at least 200 metres in a pool (of recommended length 25 metres, but no less than 20 metres) in five minutes or less
    • For the assessment, candidates must be able to swim 400 metres in a pool (recommended 25 metres, but no less than 20 metres) in eight minutes or less using a continuous front stroke and showing urgency
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Showcasing CPR at the Margate Blue Light Community Day 2019 Photo credit: Thanet RNLI Community Safety Team

Once a candidate is successful in passing the NVBLQ (beach lifeguard) course they will be eligible to apply to become an RNLI lifeguard (subject to fulfilling RNLI criteria and passing their course).

Interested in becoming an RNLI Lifeguard?

If you are interested in becoming an RNLI lifeguard then find out more drop an email to ramsgateSC@rnil.org.uk or check out their social media feed.

Stay tuned for Part 2 in this series of blogs showcasing Thanet’s lifesaving and lifeguarding clubs.

More useful references

Broadstairs Surf Life Saving Club

Royal Lifesaving Society

RNLI Lifeguards

National Vocational Beachlifeguard Qualification – RLSS

Interested in becoming an RNLI Volunteer?

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Margate Community Blue Light Day exercise 2019 – Photo credit: Sarah Hewes

Acknowledgements

Thanet Lifeguard Club

Neil Morgan

RNLI Lifeguards

Going on holiday abroad this year? Find out how to stay water safe!

Sadly each year UK residents taking their holiday abroad die through drowning, mainly adults and children.  The Safer Tourism Foundation in 2018 (charity dedicated to preventing accidents, injury and illness for holiday makers travelling abroad) indicated that more than 25 people have drowned in holiday pools in the last two years).

The Royal Lifesaving Society have indicated that 700 people die each year through drowning in the UK and Republic of Ireland and many more suffer injury, some life-changing, through non-fatal drowning experiences.  More people die from drowning in the UK and Ireland than from domestic fires or cycling accidents.

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Having some knowledge of how to stay safe in and around water and an appreciation of the hazards, can help to significantly reduce the number of deaths each year and increase enjoyment.

The Royal Life Saving Society (RLSS) have come up with these 11 Water Safety Holiday Top Tips:

1.  When researching your holiday, or arriving at the destination if you haven’t yet done so, check the safety arrangements of any water-based activities and if there is lifeguard cover at the pool/beach

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2.  Check bathing sites for hazards, check the safest places to swim and always read the signs – find out what local warning signs and flags mean

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3.  Make sure the whole family can swim.  Swim with any children in your care – it’s more fun and you can keep them close and safe

4.  Never swim alone and follow the pool rules

5. Take time to check the depth, water flow and layout of pools

6.  Never enter the water after drinking alcohol

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7.  On beaches check when the tide will be high and low and make sure that you won’t be cut off from the beach exit by the rising tide. Also be aware of dangerous rip-currents

8.  Inflatable dinghies or lilos are a well-known hazard – each year there are drownings as people on inflatables are blown out to sea. Do not use them in open water

9.   Do not swim near to or dive from rocks, piers, breakwater or coral

10.  Swim parallel to the beach and close to the shore

RNLILifejacketclinic communitysafety RNLICommunitySafety Lifeboats, Seasafety WaterSafety11. Wear a lifejacket or personal floatation device and any other safety equipment if you are taking part in any water related activity. However benigh the conditions always consider that they may change quickly without warning.

Have a fabulous, but safe holiday wherever you decide to go. Bon voyage!

Acknowledgements to RLSS and RNLI

More useful links

RLSS Safety on holiday

Cold water shock – know the risks

More rip current safety information

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RNLI  Announced as Official charity for the Margate Coastal Marathon & Half Marathon

We are delighted to announce that the RNLI has been announced as the official charity for the Margate Coastal Marathon & Half Marathon which will take place later this year in September.  The event formerly known as the Kent Coastal Marathon & Half Marathon is one of the most prestigious running events in the South East, taking either 13 or 26 miles of the most stunning and picturesque sights and landscapes through Ramsgate, Margate, Broadstairs and Westgate-on-Sea.

 

The race organised by Thanet Roadrunners AC is considered to be one of the friendliest marathons to take part in and will see a large number of serious athletes as well as charity runners.  The event starts at 9.30 am on Sunday 6th September 2020, beginning and finishing at Palm Bay School, Cliftonville.

The decision to award the charity this major role was made by the Race Director of the race and Thanet Roadrunners AC club committee.  £1 from every entry will be donated to the RNLI which will be divided equally between Ramsgate and Margate Lifeboat Stations.  In addition the RNLI Community Safety Team are planning to have a sea safety stand at the event where it will deliver important safety information and advice to all the runners, families and spectators.

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Ramsgate All Weather Lifeboat

Maryanne Aitken, Race Director of the Margate Coastal Marathon & Half Marathon said, ‘Thanet Roadrunners is delighted to partner with the RNLI, which does so much work locally to educate locals and visitors alike about water safety’.

 

Andy Mills, Thanet RNLI Community Safety Officer said, ‘We are over the moon that the charity is so recognised locally by such important community organisations like Thanet Roadrunners AC.  Over the year, we hope to promote this race, our involvement in the important message of water safety.

Further details about the race will be published on the Thanet Roadrunners website in due course.

 

Stay tuned for details about our involvement with this great event on our Blog and social media channels