Thanet RNLI Community Safety

Water Safety Advice During Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak

(Please note that this blog was published before the government lock-down was announced and our advice is to stay home to save lives, not to use the sea for recreation or exercise and not travel to the coast exercise locally).

You will all be aware of the requirement stipulated by the government about keeping more than 2 metres from other people when out and about; and avoiding non-essential contact with others particularly if you are from one of the vulnerable or at risk groups.


As you will know the lovely coastal areas and beaches can present their own risks and dangers. Lifeboat crews and Coastguard Rescue Teams are regularly called to people who have put themselves in danger.  Even during the COVID-19 outbreak RNLI Lifeboat crews, Lifeboat Maintenance Engineers and HM Coastguard Rescue Teams remain on-call and operational for call-outs 24/7.

You maybe a sailor, motor boater, off-shore angler, commercial fishermen, paddle boarder, dog walker, kayaker or canoeist, surfer, open water swimmer or just enjoy a stroll along the beach.

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The RNLI and HM Coastguard instructions are not to use the sea to exercise or recreation during the lock-down. Using the sea during this time would mean you taking unncessary risks to yourself and others which could put pressure unnecessarily on front line search and rescue services.


Here is a guide to some of the RNLI’s safety tips if you live at the coast and are going to stretch your legs.

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1.  Take care when walking near to cliff edges  – know your route and don’t take short cuts when the day light starts to dwindle

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2.  Check tide times and weather conditions before you set out

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3.  Tell someone where you are going (route plan) and the latest time that you are expected to return. This will give Search and Rescue Services a start if they need to initiate a search plan.  Why not download the free SafeTrx App or What3Words?

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4.  Wear the correct clothing for a coastal stroll as weather can change quickly

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5.  Carry a means of ‘calling for help’ such as a fully charged mobile phone in a water proof case.

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6.  Be aware of the conditions, check via a weather app.

respectthewater RLSS coldwatershock RNLI7.  If you hear or see an animal or person in the water in difficulty, don’t enter the water dial ‘999’ or ‘112’ and ask for the Coastguard straight away.  Try to throw something that floats to the person in the water, but not to put yourself at risk in doing so. Some coastal areas and rivers have lifebouys or throw line bags for use in the emergency.  For any inland water rescue ask for the Fire Service.

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8.   If you do find yourself in the water in difficulty follow the RNLI’s ‘float to Live’ safety drill and float on your back until you can get your breath back and call for help. Over half the people that drown never intended to end up in the water.

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9.  Always pay attention to local safety advice signs and heed the advice at all times.  Tides can easily creep up on your particularly when you are engrossed in something else.

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Thank you everyone and from all of our Community Safety Team stay safe!

Other useful references

Five things that you shouldn’t ignore about RNLI dog rescue’s

The top 10 lifejacket checks that could help save your life

Have you downloaded the ‘What3Words’ app yet?

RNLI Safety

Coastguard RNLI ThanetRNLICommunitysafety NMOC
National Maritime Operation’s Centre (NMOC)



HM Coastguard

Lifejacket Clinic At Royal Temple Yacht Club, Ramsgate Proves A Resounding Success!

On Sunday (15th March 2020) team members ran a lifejacket clinic at the Royal Temple Yacht Club, Ramsgate at the kind invitation of the Club Commodore.

Many of you will own a lifejacket or bouyancy aid (also known as a personal floatation device) or certainly have worn one in the past if you take part in any form of water based activity such as sailoring, off-shore angling, sea fishing, motor boating, paddle boarding, canoeing or kayaking.  Your lifejacket may help save your life one day, but only if you maintain it properly and wear it for your chosen activity.


You may have heard the term ‘useless unless worn’ in articles about safety whilst on the water, which is so true when considering what a such important part a lifejacket plays in your everyday safety drills. So, the clinic is all about helping to keep people safe by checking their lifejackets and giving out other advice to keep them safe whilst on the water.

Throughout the lifejacket clinic the team checked nineteen lifejackets in total and sixty eight per cent failed for a variety of reasons.  Which included : corroded cylinders and out-of-date firing mechanism’s.

RNLI recommendation

The RNLI recommend’s that the owner/skipper undertakes a thorough inspection of each and every lifejacket at least once a year – more often if the lifejacket is used frequently and to have the lifejacket serviced at the manufacturer’s recommended intervals.  We must point out that an inspection by an RNLI Community Safety Adviser is not the equivalent of a lifejacket service.


Here are our recommended basic checks which should be undertaken prior to every trip before donning the lifejacket:

  • Inspect the outside of the lifejacket for wear and tear
  • Even it is a lifejacket with an inspection window, undoe the jacket at the point next to the inflator
  • Check the gas cylinder is handtight, or if it’s a bayonet type firmly locked in position
  • If the lifejacket is new to you, remove the cylinder and check it has not been fired
  • Replace with a new cylinder if required
  • Look for the green  indicators on the trigger and if fitted, on the automatic firing system
  • Keep spare cylinders and the replaceable parts for the automatic firing system on hand, so that if required the jacket can be re-armed. Alternatively, keep spare armed jackets aboard the vessel.

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Lifejacket inspections can be undertaken during an advice on board session, at a lifejacket clinic (as at the Royal Temple Yacht Club) or ad-hoc when speaking with members of the public during our ‘walking the pontoons’ at Ramsgate Harbour.  Just drop our team a private message on our Facebook page and we can organise a lifejacket check or Advice on Board session for you completely free of charge.


We would like to thank all the people who visited the lifejacket clinic and brought along their jackets to be checked.  A big shout out also to Karen Cox (Ramsgate Lifeboat Press Officer) and the Royal Temple Yacht Club staff for making us very welcome and for facilitating our clinic.

Other useful references

When was the last time you checked your lifejacket?

Anglers and lifejackets

Why wearing a lifejacket or bouyancy aid is so important!



Royal Temple Yacht Club


Lifting The Lid On Thanet’s Lifeguard and Lifesaving Clubs – Part II Broadstairs Surf Lifesaving Club

Part II in our series on Thanet’s Lifeguard and Lifesaving Club’s focuses on the fabulous Broadstairs Surf Lifesaving Club.

Broadstairs Surf Life Saving Club (BSLSC) was founded in 2013 and is affiliated with the national organisation Surf Life Saving GB a charity of over 5,000 volunteers helping to make our beaches a safer and a more enjoyable place for everyone.

Regular Training Sessions

The club holds regular immersive training sessions on Viking Bay and other Thanet beaches. Pool sessions are also held during the winter months at local leisure centre’s. Why not check out the clubs training calendar to find out their next training night.

The club is all about learning and maintaining lifesaving skills and enjoying regular land and water based training on Thanet’s beautiful beaches and in the sea around the coastline.   The club provides great opportunities to stay fit, meet new friends, compete in competitions, learn new lifesaving skills and also allow you to put something back into the community.

New Members Welcome!

New members from experienced lifeguards to complete beginners are very welcome and the club offers fitness and lifeguard skills training to a wide age range.  The club is very friendly and has some of the most experienced and qualified instructors in the area.

Training in partnership with RNLI Lifeguard’s

The club provide’s lifeguard training in partnership with Surf Life Saving GB and also working closely with the Thanet RNLI Lifeguard Unit. They also aim to provide both aquatic and first aid support to the local community.

The club’s mission statement

  • To offer club members the opportunity to keep fit through Life Saving Sport, increasing skill levels and equipping members to deal with emergency situations
  • Offer enjoyable training and education to club members in surf lifesaving skills with links to nationally recognised awards and qualifications which can help lead to a occupation in lifeguarding.

National Vocational Beach Lifeguard Qualification (NVBLQ)

From time to time the club runs the National Vocational Beach Lifeguard Qualification (NVBLQ). The course is designed to provide the learner with an introduction to all elements of beach lifeguard theory, cardiopulmonary resucitation (CPR), first aid, pool and open water skills.
The course is physically demanding and requires swimming to set times and lifting casualities in simulated rescue scenairo’s.  The NVBLQ comprises a variety of units and all must be successfully passed to attain the qualification.
  • Be 16 on the assessment day.
  • Be able to swim a measured distance of 200 metres in a pool of recommended length 25 metres, minimum 20 metres, within 5 minutes.
  • On enrolment, the candidate must be able to demonstrate, to the satisfaction of the Trainer, that by the end of the course they will be capable of achieving a swim time of 400m in under 8 minutes.
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Units to be covered:
  • Beach Environment
  • Beach Patrolling
  • Working Practices
  • Communications
  • Basic Life Support
  • First Aid
  • Pool Based Practical
  • Foundation Tube Rescuer
  • Foundation Ocean Board Rescuer
When the club runs it’s NVBLQ course, the timetable will usually run daily between 8am – 6pm (subject to change). The course will involve a mixutre of training in the sea, beach, pool and classroom.
Each candidate will receive further joining instructions and information once allocated a space on a course. Previous courses have been advertised via the club’s social media platforms and booking can be completed via Eventbrite.  Successful com[pletion of the NVBLQ does not guarantee paid work with the RNLI Beach Lifeguard service, but it is one of the required qualifications to then be able to apply for a role within the RNLI.  For more information on the next course drop the club an email:
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We would like to wish all members of the Broadstairs Lifesaving Club all the best for the forthcoming season of training, competitions and lifeguard courses and we hope to see you on the beach in the near future.

Other useful links

Broadstairs Surf Lifesaving Club

Apply to be an RNLI Lifeguard

Thanet Lifeguard Club

Learn how to ‘float to live’


The Instructors and members of Broadstairs Surf Lifesaving Club

Surf lifesaving GB


HM Coastguard

RNLI Community Safety Team Help Spread Drowning Prevention Message With School Pupils

On Monday (9th March) one of our team supported the RNLI Education Presentation Team at the ‘Safety In Action’ event at Dreamland organised by Salus.  Incase you haven’t come across ‘Safety In Action’ it is an immersive event for Year 6 children to learn about dangers they may face as they become more independent and prepare for transition up to secondary school.

It is supported by various organisations including Kent Police, British Transport Police, Kent Fire and Rescue Service, the RNLI, Kent County Council, Kenward Trust, and UK Power Networks.  In other parts of the country it may be known under different guises including Crucial Crew.

Safety In Action events comprise of a number of scenarios set up by the organisations involved specificallly tailored to simulate and provide information about a variety of topics which may include:

  • Drugs/Alcohol
  • Fire Safety
  • Water Safety
  • Rail Safety
  • Road Safety
  • On-line Safety
  • Personal Safety
  • Stranger Danger
  • Emergency Life Support
  • Driver Safety
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RNLI Beach Flags

Children are divided into teams to rotate around the different scenarios, spending 10 minutes at each. The scenario content is decided by the relevant organisation or agency delivering them. They are all designed to engage and inform the children on specific safety issues relating to their area of expertise.

The topics that were covered within the RNLI session included: what is the RNLI, the water safety code, know to call the coastguard in a coastal emergency, float to live, identifying beach and harbour safety hazards and what is the beach lifeguards role.  These are all important water safety topic’s which will help young people enjoy a safe time at the coast or inland waterway.

We would like to say a massive thank you to all the school children that visited the RNLI stand and we were impressed by your enthusiasm and keeness in wanting to learn about water safety.  We wish you well on your transition to senior school.  Thank you also to Salus for inviting the RNLI team along and for your continued support in helping us to share the key safety messages.

Useful references:

Our Ultimate Guide In Finding A Lifeguarded Beach in Thanet

Why Inflatables Are Not Good For The Seaside

RNLI – How to Float

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HM Coastguard


Lifeboat Community Safety Team enjoy a day at the beach!

Our Community Safety Team held a mobile stand at Dumpton Gap, near Broadstairs on March 1st aimed at giving safety advice to dog walkers.  Weather for the event marked a complete turnaround to previous weekends where the country had faced several major storms.  So a combination of a beautiful sunny morning and lower winds that many dog walkers took advantage of the conditions and the stunning coastline that Thanet has to offer.

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Our stand was carried out by Thanet RNLI Community Safety Advisers, John Homer and Ian Lockyer.  They had good in-depth conversations with just over 300 people, mainly concentrating on dog walkers.  This number also included walkers and runners.  Advice included what to do if an owner was cut off from their dog along the coast as well as advice on local tidal cut off points.

One of the things that the team noticed was that nearly all the local dog walkers were aware of the local cut off points and also used tidal apps and almanacs.


Every member of the public that the team spoke to were very positive about the advice given and favourable to everything the RNLI does.  Even the stand proved popular with the dogs with several marking their territory on the panels.

Overall a fantastic, positive morning with some good advice given.

Other useful links

Half term Fun and Dogs

It’s Walk Your Dog Month

Sign-up to our free monthly water safety newsletter

Ramsgate Lifeboat