Thanet RNLI Community Safety

How Well Do You Know Your Lifeboats? Part III – The ‘D’ Class Inshore Lifeboat (ILB)

The third blog in our series ‘How well do you know your lifeboats’  focuses on Margate’s ‘D’ class Inshore Lifeboat (ILB).  The ‘D’ class lifeboat has been a workhorse of the RNLI for over 50 years, which was first introduced in 1963 and has saved thousands of lives ever since. The design of the inflatable ‘D’ class lifeboat continues to evolve to meet the changes in operational demand and technology.

The ‘D’ class is a highly manoeuvrable craft and can operate closer to the shoreline than it’s all-weather lifeboat counter parts. The ‘D’ class definitely comes into her own for searches and rescues in surf, shallow water and confined area’s such as up close to cliffs, amongst rocks and even inside caves.

There are 110 lifeboat stations that currently have the very latest IB1 type ‘D’ class lifeboat. With a top speed of 25 knots, ‘D’ class lifeboats can endure up to 3 hours at sea at this speed on search and rescue taskings which is a critical factor when lives are at risk.  Margate’s first ‘D’ class inshore boat came on service in 1966, with the latest D-841 Alfred Alexander Staden going on operational service on 5th October 2019.

Launching

Most ‘D’ class lifeboats are launched from a trolley with the assistance of a launch and recovery vehicle such as a tractor or landrover (Margate’s ILB is launched using a tractor).  Some stations launch their ‘D’ class by lowering it into the sea using a davit system which is a shore-mounted crane.

 

Safety Kit Carried

The ‘D’ class lifeboat carries night vision equipment, a searchlight and parachute illuminating flares to light up a search area, helping to maintain crew safety as well as help locate those in need of help.

Medical equipment is stowed in a pod on the bow which includes oxygen, resuscitation kit, responder bag and ambulance pouch.

margatelifeboat margatecoastguard RNLIWatersafety RNLICommunitysafety
Margate’s Inshore Lifeboat taking part in a mock rescue drill at the Margate Blue Light Community Event 2019

Technical Stuff

Crew:
2–3 (must include a Helmsmen)

Survivor capacity:
5

Maximum speed:
25 knots

Range / endurance:
3 hours at maximum speed

Length:
5m

Beam / width:
2m

Draught / depth:
0.52m

Displacement / weight:
400kg

Fuel capacity:
68 litres

Engines:
1 x Mariner engine at 50hp

Construction:
Hypalon-coated polyester

Identification
All lifeboats have a unique identification number.
The first part indicates the class so ‘D’ class lifeboats start with D.
The numbers after the dash refer to the build number. So the first ‘D’ class built in the current IB1 design was given the number D-600.

Why not find out more about the RNLI’s inshore lifeboats by watching this video

 

While lifeboat stations remain operational and are continuing to launch to those at peril at sea, they are not currently open to visitors. 

 

Useful links

Margate Lifeboat Facebook page

Margate Lifeboat web page

Sign-up to our e-newsletter 

As the clocks go back this weekend, are you Winter Water Aware’?

 

Acknowledgements

Royal National Lifeboat Institution

Why We Are Asking People Not To Set Off Flares And Sky Lanterns & On Bonfire Night – 5th November 2020

We hope everyone is keeping safe and well!

We are aware sky lanterns (sometimes referred to as Chinese lanterns which are often used in birthday and weddings celebrations) are being advertised as an alternative to attending the traditional bonfire night gatherings/parties due to COVID-19 government lockdown restrictions.  The sky lanterns are often set off on or close to bonfire night 5th November.

What are Sky Lanterns and why are they hazardous to animals

The paper lanterns are small hot air balloons, powered by a flame suspended on a wire frame which represents a significant fire risk to life, property, birds, livestock and agriculture when they come down to earth so should never be used.

 

Cause of fires

In 2013 CCTV footage proved a sky lantern to be the cause of a fire at a recycling plant in the West Midlands. More than 200 firefighters and 39 fire appliances were deployed over several days to tackle the blaze involving plastics and paper.

 

Unnecessary Calls-Out’s for Lifeboat Crews and Coastguard Teams

Near the coast they may also be mistaken for distress flares causing unnecessary searches by our lifeboat and coastguard team colleagues. However, both search and rescue organisations are still ready to respond to genuine incidents, but do not need unavoidable calls putting their own and other lives at risk at this time.  Remember: What goes up must come down. If you do plan on releasing these lanterns near the coast, let the Coastguard know when and where.  As an alternative you could consider purchasing:

  • stationary candles and nightlights
  • static lanterns or outdoor lights
  • or planting a tree in memory of a loved one

 

Flares

Flares are a critical piece of sea safety kit, it is illegal to fire them in non-distress situation.  Every year lifeboat crews and Coastguard Rescue Teams are called out to the sighting of flares out at sea or coast.  Flares are designed to be fired over water. If fired over land they can cause serious fires.  Bonfire Night can be a big night for unnecessary call-outs. Flares and lanterns are easily mistaken for distress signals and each sighting of a flare or lantern has to be investigated fully. This could divert search and rescue assets (lifeboats and Coastguard Rescue Teams) away from genuine emergency situation and can mean an exhaustive search in challenging conditions putting volunteers at further risk.

 

Thank you for reading, and from all of our team take care and stay safe!

 

Other useful references

How to sign-up to our monthly newsletter

How to dispose of out-of-date flares?

What’s the difference between the RNLI and HM Coastguard?

Still want to help support the RNLI during COVID19?

Acknowledgements

RNLI

HM Coastguard

RSPCA

Wildlife Conservation Trust Thanet

Do You Enjoying Bodyboarding? Here’s How To Stay Safe

Bodyboarding is of the most popular board sports invented, with a reported 20 million surfers and bodyboarder’s across the world with the number on the increase.  Every bodyboarder has her/his own reasons for taking up the sport, however, the mixture of physical exercise, increase in wellbeing and mental health; being at one with nature; and getting a great dose of sunlight and sea air appear to be some of the the main benefits.   Numerous self-help groups across coastal area’s have sprung up using bodyboarding to combat mental health issues.

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

Lifeguards and Lifeboat Crews are regularly called out to assist and deal with incidents involving bodyboarders.  Here are some safety tips to help you stay safe whilst having a fun time:

Top 11 Body Boarding Safety Tips

1. Body Boarding is much more fun with a mate –  It is always better to surf alongside another person for safety sake incase one of you should get into difficulty

2. Let someone know that you’re going out, the location & what is the latest time you will be back –  this is so important incase the HM Coastguard/Lifeboat have to start a search

3. Check out the tide times and weather forecast – there are plenty of free smart device app’s available to download for weather forecasting and tide times

4. Have you considered the dangers of rip currents? They are the cause of a significant number of lifeguard call-outs every year.  More information on rip currents

5. Be realistic about your limits. Even the most experienced bodyboarders have been caught out in the past.

6. Grab some training. There are a multitude of approved bodyboarding schools across the country. Why not grab a few lessons yourself before you head out for the first time.

7. Always wear a leash – So you don’t become separated from your board.  If you have got hold of your board you will have something to keep you afloat should you get into difficulty. It will also help lifeboat and Coastguard crews locate you more easily.

8. Wear the correct wetsuit – As well as keeping you warm, wetsuits will give some additional protection from rock scrapes or surfboard impacts.

9. Always think about other surfers and water users – learn about surfer etiquette and rights of way

10. Know who to call in a coastal emergency – If you see or hear someone or an animal that you think is in difficulty in the water dial ‘999’ or ‘112’ and ask for the Coastguard straight away.

 

11. Bodyboard between the red and yellow flags – the lifeguards are an excellent source of local knowledge eg hazards, tide times, weather forecasts, injury prevention amongst others.  The RNLI indicate that “British and Irish waters are incredibly unpredictable and one of the biggest dangers with bodyboarding is surfing outside of the red and yellow flag lifeguarded area, outside of lifeguard hours”.

Useful statistics

RNLI lifeboat crews launched 18 times to bodyboarders in trouble in 2016. In addition, RNLI lifeguards went to the rescue in 883 bodyboarding related incidents. Over half of these incidents incidents involved rip currents.

 

Ramsgate’s Atlantic 85 Inshore Lifeboat

Useful links

British Bodyboarding Club

British Surfing

Surfing England

British Surfing UK Surfing Guide

Surfers Against Sewage

 

Acknowledgements

RNLI

HM Coastguard

 

As The Clocks Go Back This Weekend And Darker Nights Are Once Again Upon Us- Are You Winter Water Aware?

We hope that you are looking forward to making the most of that extra hour in bed after the clocks went back marking the end of BST (British Summer Time) and reverting to GMT (Greenwich Mean Time).   Of course that extra hour in bed in the morning results in the evenings getting darker earlier.

lockdown covid19 margatelifeboat ramsgatelifeboat margatecoastguard broadstairs walking running clocksgoback GMT

Walking, running or cycling home in the dark after a night out or a long shift you may decide to take a short cut to get home quicker which takes you close to open water.

Winterwatersafety RLSS NFCC Walkersandrunners watersafety RNLIWatersafety RNLICommunitysafety Margatelifeboat Ramsgatelifeboat Thanetlifeguards

Make sure you take care when walking past open water as what appears to be straight forward in the light can be totally confusing in the dark.  Walkers and runners have the highest incidence of accidental drowning year on year.

COVID19 Coronavirus Respectthewater communitysafety tidetimes

The RLSS (Royal Lifesaving Society) indicate that from 2012-2016, 300 people unnecessarily lost their lives to drowning in the UK whilst running or walking by the water – that’s an average of 60 lives lost per year.   An additional 35 people per year drowned while walking home intoxicated.  Thirty nine percent of those accidental drownings took place at the coast, twenty five percent at a river and eleven percent at a canal.

 

Here are some top tips to help keep you safe whilst out walking or running during the winter months:

watersafetyrespectthewater RNLI lifeboats drowningprevention

  • Be aware of your surroundings and take notice of any warning signs when out and about
  • When running or walking next to open water, stay well clear of bank edges and keep to paths
  • Always try and walk or run with a friend
  • Let someone know where you are going and what time you will be back
  • Carry a means of ‘calling for help’ such as a fully charged mobile phone in a waterproof case.
  • If you are at the coast check out the tide times and weather before you head out of the door
  • If you end up in the water float on your back rather than trying to swim
  • If you hear or see an animal or person in difficulty in the water, don’t enter the water dial ‘999’ ask for the Coastguard at the coast or on the River Thames; and for all other inland waterways ask for the Fire Service

 

matesmatter RNLI dontdrinkandddrown RLSS Avonfireandrescueservice

Mates Matter

Avon Fire and Rescue Service have highlighted the Stay Safe Around Water message by using the social media #MatesMatter and encouraging the sports team mantra of looking after the team.  Our advice is to always check your mates have got home safely by messaging or phoning them. Your phone call could just save their life.

 

John Homer RNLI Community Safety Adviser says “winter time is still a great time to visit the coast, we have 19 miles of coastline in Thanet to explore, but taking a few precautions can really help prevent putting yourself and others in danger. Stay safe”.

accidentaldrowning RLSS drowning pools reserviors rivers streams lakes quarries

Other useful links

Runners and Walkers identified as high risk of accidental drowning year on year in UK

Sea Safety During Stormy Weather Conditions

Sign-up to our e-newsletter

 

Acknowledgements

Avon Fire and Rescue Service

National Fire Chief’s Council

RLSS

RNLI

Celebrating Headset Hero’s – International Control Room Week 2020 – HM Coastguard Operation Rooms

‘International Control Room Week’ is all about celebrating and thanking those people who are at the end of a ‘999’ call.  From 19th to the 25th October 2020 the week is dedicated to celebrating the achievements of truly remarkable people who are at the end of the phone or radio when we need them, keeping us calm, reassuring us and updating us. They stay strong, supporting us through the most challenging times.

NMOC Coastguard RNLICommunitySafety
National Maritime Operation Centre (NMOC) HM Coastguard

HM Coastguard Operation’s Centre’s around the UK are staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Ready to take ‘999’ emergency calls or Mayday radio calls from someone who needs help at the coast, on the River Thames or at sea urgently.  There is no doubt it’s a highly challenging and demanding role.

Coastguard Operation’s room staff ensure that search and rescue assets such as coastguard rescue teams, helicopters, lifeboats and other blue light services are in the right place where they need to be, at the right time – helping and supporting as the emergency situation unfolds.

internationalcontrolroomweek heroswearheadsets coastguards margatecoastguard thanetlifeguards margatelifeboat ramsgatelifeboat bebeachsafe covid-19 lockdown
Thanet RNLI Community Safety Team visit to Dover Coastguard Operation’s Centre (prior to COVID-19) regulations.

This year is even more important than in previous years as the men and women based in the Coastguard Operation’s Room’s have continued to provide emergency capability right through out lock-down and continue to do so through the Corona Virus emergency.

mentalhealth

To mark the celebration, APD Communications have also pledged to donate £1 to Mind the mental health charity every time #UnsungHeroes is used across social media and in the press during the 19th -25th October 2020. Mental Health has such a huge impact on the emergency services. With over 9 in 10 workers experiencing low mood, poor mental health and stress at some point whilst working for the emergency services. The challenging nature of the job, with its unique pressures puts staff at greater risk.

HMCoastguard Internatioalcontrolroomweek
Kaimes Beasley, controller Dover Coastguard Operations Centre – photo credit HM Coastguard

Please spare a thought for all the staff deployed in all control rooms providing essential communication, support and assistance to members of the public in times of need.   Just some of those control rooms include: Police, Fire and Rescue Service, Ambulance Service, Highways Agency, Maritime Control, Border Agency, Coastguard, RNLI, Prison Service, Public Utilities, Armed Forces, St John’s Ambulance, Red Cross to name a few.

Below is a short video clip showing how the HM Coastguard would take an emergency call and despatch search and rescue resources.  As a reminder if you hear or see an animal or person in difficulty in the water at the coast dial ‘999’ or ‘112’ and ask for the Coastguard.

For more information on the week, visit:  International Control Room Week

 

More useful links

Know who to call in a coastal emergency

What’s the difference between the Coastguard and RNLI?

APD Control Rooms Week

Acknowledgements

HM Coastguard

APD Communications

Do You Know How To Check the Tide Times?

Regularly at events we are asked what is the best way to check the tide times?  There are a variety of websites and smart device app’s available which are free to download and use to check the tides.  Shops, cafe’s and other harbour/marina establishments regularly stock paper copies of tide tables which are available for a nominal fee or a donation to the local lifeboat station.  A special mention should be made of ‘Spring Tides’ at this point in the blog. Spring Tides can result in people getting easily cut-off by the incoming tide including places where there normally isn’t an issue.  For more information go to our blog on different tides.

Some lifeboat station’s also display the tide times on their external notice board’s. Many lifeboat station’s, Coastguard teams and National Coastwatch station’s publish tide times and safety advice on a regular basis on their social media channels. Both Ramsgate and Margate lifeboat station’s publish tide times.

We have included anumber of websites and ap’s below to give you an idea which ones are available.

mobilephone tidetimes coastguard beachsafety communitysafety lifeboats thanet broadstairs margate ramsgate dogsafety beaches sandybeaches touristinformation thanet

BBC Weather Tide Tables

Tide Times

Met Office Beach forecast and tide times

Tide Forecast.com

Tide Times App – iOS device

Tide Times App – Android

You maybe visiting the coast to enjoy a lovely walk with your friends or family, partake in some bird watching, go climbing, kayaking, paddle boarding, sailing, swimming, surfing or just take in the sea from a cafe or coffee shop.  Whatever activity you are taking part in why not remind yourself about some safety tips which could help save your life below:

respectthewater coastalsafety seasafety RNLI lifeboats walkyourdogmonth dogssafety

  • Always carry a ‘calling for help device’ such as a fully charged mobile phone or VHF radio

RNLICommunitysafety RNLIwatersafety COVID-19 Respectthewater Thanetlifeguards

  • If you are going out on your own tell someone where you are going and what time you will be back

lifejackets RNLI respectthewater bewateraware thanet RNLIwatersafety RNLICommunitysafety RNLISeasafety margate broadstairs ramsgate seacheck beaches swimsafe watersafety kent thanet Whitstable dover walmer newhaven brighton

  • Wear the right clothing for the activity. If you are enjoying time on the water always wear a fully serviced lifejacket.

RNLICommunitysafetyteam RNLIwatersafety RNLI Tides callingforhelo respectthewater bewateraware bebeachsafe ThanetLifeguards margatecoastguard whitstablelifeboat margatelifeboat ramsgatelifeboat

  • Check the weather forecast

coastguard watersafety seasaafety communitysafetyrnli

  • If you get into difficulty dial ‘999’ or ‘112’ and ask for the Coastguard

 

  • Don’t enter the water if you get cut-off by the tide, call for help

covid-19 lockdown thanetlifeguards RNLICommunitysafety RNLIwatersafety margatecoastguard margatelifeboat Ramsgatelifeboat

  • Heed any warning signs that are displayed at the coast or on beaches

covid-19 lockdown margatecoastguard thanetlifeguards respectthewater bewateraware bebeachsafe

  • Be aware of your surroundings at all times as conditions can change quickly without warning

Respectthewater communitysafety tidetimes

  • If you end up in the water Float On Your Back until you get your breath back – Float To Live

Ian Lockyer (RNLI Community Safety Advisor) says “we want everyone to enjoy the coast and get as much out of your visit as possible. But, making a few preparations and having a plan should things go wrong will help save your life”.

Other useful links

Do you know who to call in a coastal emergency?

Float to live – Evan’s Story

How do I prevent being cut-off by the tide?

Coastaldogsafety RNLI watersafety drowningprevention RLSS ROSPA dogs coastguard Thanet Broadstairs Raamsgate Margate
One of our Coastal Dog Safety sessions at Dumpton Gap (prior to Lockdown)

Acknowledgements

RNLI

HM Coastguard

National Coastwatch Institution

National Ocean Service

How Do I Call For Help By Phone At The Coast?

Our Coastguard colleagues have in the past carried out a public survey and they report that half of the people they questioned did not know that they should dial ‘999’ and ask for the Coastguard for a coastal emergency.  Here are just some of the incidents which the Coastguard should get called to (The list is not exhaustive):

▪️Person in the water

▪️Someone shouting/waving for help from a boat,

▪️Someone stuck on/fallen from a Coastal cliff,

▪️Someone stuck in Coastal mud or quicksand,

▪️Boat sinking or on fire

▪️Persons floating out to sea on a lilo

▪️Distress flare sighted

▪️Persons jumping from quay walls and putting themselves in danger

▪️Persons “Wave Dodging” and putting themselves in danger

▪️Someone gone kayaking at the Coast and not back at the time they said they would be

▪️Boat aground

▪️Someone injured on a beach

▪️Someone cut off by the tide

▪️Child(ren) lost on the beach

▪️Marine Pyrotechnics (flares) or suspected Military Ordnance found on a beach

Coastguard RNLI ThanetRNLICommunitysafety NMOC

Here is the procedure in the event of spotting a coastal emergency:

 1.  Dial ‘999’ or ‘112’ (European Emergency Number) and ask for the Coastguard

2.   Describe your location, if you don’t know exactly where you are use a clear description, landmarks or try and find someone who knows the area.   On some smart phones the compass app will also display the position as latitude and longitude. Alternatively, use an app such as OS locate or What3words

3.  Describe the number of people, animal and or craft that is involved

4.   Describe the problem = what you can see and or hear

5.  Give any further information such as closet access point for emergency services and any further updates on injuries to casualties

tides cut-off RNLI RNLICommunitysafety thanet Kent RNLICommunitySafety

Useful references

Have you downloaded the What3Words App yet?

What exactly is SafeTrx and how can it keep me safe?

Do you know who to call for a coastal emergency?

coastguard watersafety seasaafety communitysafetyrnli

Acknowledgements

Greenock Coastguard Team

RNLI

HM Coastguard

Advice on Board – Know How To Keep Yourself & Your Crew Safe Whilst Afloat

Did you know that our team of RNLI Community Safety volunteers can carry out Advice on Board safety advice sessions with you.  We will visit you and provide you with practical suggestions on how to improve the safety on your boat and it’s equipment.

 

When and where will the advice sessions take place?

The session is specifically tailored around your availability and the location to suit you.  It is not like an MoT for a car, but a friendly chat where we can help with suggestions on how to improve safety for you and your crew.  We will provide you with a summary of the main points covered to take away with you at the end of the session.

Do the advice sessions cost anything?

The sessions are totally free of charge.

Are the RNLI Community Safety Team qualified to undertake these sessions?

All the team that conduct the Advice on Board sessions have attended a course run by the RNLI to qualify them to carry out the checks. They also attend refresher sessions to keep their knowledge up-to-date.

 

Can the advice session include checking my lifejackets too?

Yes, we can check your lifejackets as well, we also recommend getting them regularly serviced and by a service agent or local chandlers who may have the facility to send off jackets to a manufacturers.

 

I have a VHF handheld radio and I am unsure whether it is still ok to use, can you check the radio?

Our team are not qualified to service or check VHF handheld or base station radio’s.  We would recommend contacting a local dealer or manufacturer for more advice.

How can I book an Advice on Board session with my local Community Safety Team?

If you have your boat is moored at Ramsgate Harbour please send our team a direct message on either our Facebook or Instagram page and we will reply asap.  If you live in another area then you can contact RNLI HQ at Poole by going to this link

 

What happens during the COVID-19 pandemic?

Our team are permitted to carry out some RNLI Community Safety work using social distancing.  If you would prefer to wait until 2021 then you can still register your interest in having an advice session carried out in the future.

I would like some advice on my engine. Can you help me with this?

Mechanical failure is the single biggest cause of rescue call outs to sailing and motor cruisers, accounting for nearly 20% of all our lifeboat launches. Knowing your boat, carrying spares and being able to fit them could make the difference between having to call for help and being able to help yourself. Our team are not qualified to check over engines.  Our advice is to get your engine checked out by a qualified engineer.

Why not download these free RNLI resources:

check list for inboard and outboard engines

check list for outboard engines

The RYA diesel engine maintenance course is designed to help you with engine problems when out at sea

 

Are you able to take time expired pyrotechnic’s (TEP’s) from me?

We are not permitted to take TEP’s from any members of the public due to the risk involved.  Please contact your supplier where you purchased the flares from initially and ask whether they operate a ‘take back facility’. Alternatively, speak with a life raft manufacturer or council recycling centre.  Our blog on how to dispose of out of date flares may provide some useful reading.

 

What happens if I have some more questions?

If you have any questions on Advice on Board sessions or any aspect of safety on your boat then please do not hesitate in dropping us a private message on our social media pages.  Thank you for reading and stay safe.

 

Further useful links

RYA training courses

Sign-up to your lifesaving newsletter

 

Acknowledgements

RYA

RNLI

Supporting World Mental Health Day 10th October 2020

World Mental Health Day is an opportunity to raise awareness either within your own organisation, through relatives or friends of mental health issues.

World Mental Health Day 2020 is the most important one yet. The months of lockdown and loss have had a huge impact on us all, and prioritising mental health has never been more important than it is now.

worldmentalhealthday Ramsgatelifeboat Margatelifeboat RNLICommunitysafety RNLIWatersafety RNLIVolunteers Margatecoastguard thanetlifeguards covid-19 lockdown

That’s why this year our team, want to help bring together people to mark this special day by each doing one thing for better mental health.  Whether it’s going for a lovely walk in a park or at the coast, learning a new skill or doing something creative, taking the first steps to getting support/help for yourself, or checking on someone else that you haven’t heard from in a while; take the opportunity to do one thing this World Mental Health Day.

 

Each one of us needs to take care of our mental health and wellbeing whether we have a mental health issue or not.   You may have heard the term banded around ‘Mental Wellbeing’?  What does it mean? It describes how you we/you/are feeling and how well you can cope with daily life. It may change from moment to moment, day to day, month to month or year to year.  Good mental health doesn’t mean being full of the joys of spring and laughing all of the time, poor mental health can make you feel that you are unable to cope with events that life throws at you.

So, what are exactly are mental health problems?  This video will help explain

Why not check out this fabulous video by Mind the mental health charity on 8 relaxation tips.

What can you do to raise awareness?

Within your own organisation or family you can create learning opportunities to raise the level of understanding about mental health issues, highlighting stigma’s, mental health and increasing wellbeing.

You may like to share social media postings and content using the #WorldMentalHealthDay2020 #itsOkNotTobeOk #DoOneThing . Why not have a cuppa with a colleague, friend or relative and have a good old chat and catch-up. Switch off your phone or smart device so that you are not interrupted, it’s amazing what a nice chat can do.  Why not help share the messages throughout your work place or organisation go to Time to Change resources

Thank you for reading our blog, we hope you have found it useful.  If you need any further support then check out the links below or the help line phone numbers.  Take care and stay safe!

Useful Numbers

Samaritans 116 123

Childline 0800 1111

MIND : 0300-123-3393

CALM: 0800-58-58-58

Useful Links

World Mental Health Day – A time for change

Supporting someone during COVID-19

Samaritans

Mind Coronavirus useful contacts

PTSD999 – support for emergency service colleagues

Combat Stress – mental health support for military veterans

 

Acknowledgements

Mind – mental health charity

Kitesurfing – Find Out How To Have A Safe, But Enjoyable Time 

Kitesurfing is arguably one of the most exciting and adrenaline fuelled sports you can do on the water.  But, staying safe is the most crucial part in having a fabulous time.  This blog explores some of the basic safety aspects of kitesurfing.

 

What is Kitesurfing?

Kitesurfing also known as kiteboarding (combining aspects of wakeboarding, snow boarding, windsurfing, surfing, paragliding and skateboarding) is a wind-powered water sport utilising a kite and a board to help propel you across water.  Despite the name, it doesn’t have to involve wave surfing kitesurfing can be done on flat expanses of water, as well as in choppy sea or in big waves. All you need is water and wind.  Dependant on the strength of the wind and size of rider various sizes of kites are available.

UK and Irish waters are incredibly unpredictable and one of the biggest risks which kitesurfers face is kiting alone or in adverse weather conditions.

RNLI lifeboat crews launched 99 times to kitesurfers in trouble in 2015.  Out of these call-outs the majority were down to adverse conditions and kit failure.  RNLI Lifeguards were called to deal with 54 kitesurfing related incidents in 2015.

 

Following some simple steps to stay safe will reduce your chances of getting into difficulty and also help you gain the most out of this fabulous sport.

Kitesurfing Safety Hacks

  1.  Always kite with another person
  2.  If you do go alone, take a protected means of ‘calling for help’ such as a fully charged mobile phone, VHF radio and or Personal Locator Beacon (registered to you) which is easily accessible at all times.

 

3.  Tell someone where you are kiting and the latest time that you will return.  Consider downloading the free to use SafeTrx app on your smart device registering yourself as the vessel. This                   will help the Coastguard and lifeboat locate you quickly should things go wrong.

4.  Never ride out further than you can swim back.

5.  Have a plan should your equipment fail, practise your drills regularly.

 

6.  Prior to kiting check the weather, tides and swell forecasts.  Popular swell forecast websites and app’s include: Windfinder, Wind Guru and Magic Seaweed. When talking about checking                   the swell always consider: Wave height, Swell direction and Power of the waves. 

7.  Always kite within your capability, don’t go out in conditions which you can’t handle.  If the conditions are on the edge of your ability wait until a day where you can easily kite.

 

8.  If you are a new comer to the sport or haven’t been kiting for a while grab some coaching sessions from a recognised/approved instructor or club.  Follow safety advice from the British Kitesports Association and other registered clubs.

If you are learning overseas, make sure that you can communicate easily with your instructor.  Never be afraid to ask about the kit you will be using. Learning with new equipment in excellent condition is ideal, beginners should always be given personal flotation devices (PFD) and helmets as standard.

 

9.   Check what size of kite other riders are using.  If you don’t have the correct size don’t go out.

10.  Wear the right kit for the job eg wetsuit, helmet, buoyancy aid, boots whilst on the water.  Long sleeved top/trousers, helmet, knee/elbow pads, back protection and strong footwear for land based activity.

 

11.   Observe kitesport zones – Please observe local regulations and if you are unsure ask other riders, beach users or local beach/coastal officials.

12.   If you are asking someone to assist you in launching or landing provide some training to help them carry out the procedures.  Don’t ask anyone to help/land who isn’t familiar with kites.

 

13.   Check out the latest government advice for the area where you will be operating to ensure you comply with the latest COVID-19 pandemic regulations.

 

Andy Mills (Thanet RNLI Community Safety Team) says “Our team want people to enjoy themselves kitesurfing at the coast by making sure their visit is one to remember and not one they would rather forget. Taking some simple precautions and having a plan should things go wrong will help hugely in keeping people safe.”

Other useful links

Kitesurfing and Minnis Bay Sailing Club Visit

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Ramsgate Lifeboat

Margate Lifeboat

 

Acknowledgements

British Kitesports Association

Royal National Lifeboat Institution

HM Coastguard

Kent Pirates