Thanet RNLI Community Safety

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Top 10 Lifejacket Checks Which Could Help Save Your Life!
Top 10 Lifejacket Checks Which Could Help Save Your Life!

Lifejackets are an essential piece of safety kit whilst out on the water whatever activity you are taking part in.  Whatever the weather or sea conditions our advice is always to wear a lifejacket or personal floatation device (PFD).   Lifejackets are useless stored away in a bag, they need to be worn.

lifejackets respecthewater margatelifeboat margatecoastguard thanetlifeguards ramsgatelifeboatRNLICommunitysafety RNLISeasafety RNLIWatersafety

One of the top pieces of advice that you can learn: treat your lifejacket maintenance/checks just like your routine checks on your car or bike, for oil, tyres, windscreen washer etc.  Here are ten lifejacket checks that could help save your life:

lifejacketclinic RNLIlifejackets respectthewater RNLICommunitysafetyteam RNLIwatersafetyteam RNLIlifeboats margatelifeboat Margatecoastguard thanetlifeguards bebeachsafe bewateraware broadstairs margate ramsgate

  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.

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4. If the lifejacket is new to you, remove the cylinder and check it has not been fired.  Previously, our team have found in anumber of case that lifejackets which have been gifted have been fired.  You will be surprised to learn that some brand new lifejackets will have an out-of-date cylinder, so it is always worth checking.

5. Replace the cylinder if required (these can be purchased from most chandlers).

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.

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.  A few years ago, it was frowned upon to inflate the jacket by blowing into the tube, as it was believed to introduce moisture to the inside of the tube. This has been proved not to have any apparent effect to the integrity of the jacket.

Lifejacketclinics RNLIwatersafety margatelieboat margatecoastguard ramsgatelifeboat thanetlifeguards lifejacketchecks RNLICommunitysafety RNLISeasafety COVID19thanet Thanetlifeguards lifeboats RNLI

Lifejacket Clinic’s Postponed Due to COVID-19

COVID-19 safety protocols have prevented us from holding any lifejacket clinic’s at this current time, but we are still able to offer advice and guidance.  Why not drop us a private message on Facebook or Instagram.

A lifejacket check by an RNLI Community Safety Team or Advisor is not the same as a service by a service agent or manufacturer.   We recommend your lifejacket is regularly serviced by an approved agent or the manufacturer.

Ian Lockyer (RNLI Community Safety Advisor) says “now that we are in lockdown again it is a good time to get those tasks done such as getting your lifejacket checked/serviced. Lifejackets will help save your life if you end up in the water.  Stay safe everyone”.

lifejacketclinic COVID19thanet RNLICommunitysafety margatelifeboat margatecoastguard thanetlifeguards ramsgatelifeboat ramsgatelifejacketchecks royaltempleyachtclub commodore rearcommodoreRNLIWatersafety RNLISeasafety Thanetlifeguards Respectthewater Bewateraware drowningprevention lifejacketclinic spinlock Ramsgatelifeboat Margatelifeboat Royaltempleyachtclub RTYC

Useful links

Royal National Lifeboat Institution safety

How to choose and maintain a lifejacket

Lifejackets – useless unless worn

Sign-up to our newsletter

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Acknowledgements

Royal National Lifeboat Institution

HM Coastguard

RNLI Community Safety Support Team Poole HQ

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Lifeboat Community Safety Team Hold An On-Line Lifejacket Training Workshop
Lifeboat Community Safety Team Hold An On-Line Lifejacket Training Workshop

On Tuesday evening (13th January 2021) our Lifeboat Community Safety Team kick started their 2021 on-line training programme by hosting a workshop to refresh their knowledge and skills on lifejackets.   If you are a follower of our lifesaving work you will be aware that we conduct lifejacket clinic’s at local yacht club and lifeboat stations to help check lifejackets and keep their wearers/owners safe.

RNLIWatersafety RNLICommunitySafety RNLIVolunteer Lockdown TIER5 lifejackets lifejacketclinics RNLI Margatelifeboat Ramsgatelifeboat MargateCoastguard

Lifejackets are an essential piece of lifesaving kit and the lifejacket clinic can help check the lifejacket and point the sailor or it’s owner/user with self-care advice.

Due to the RNLI COVID-19 pandemic risk assessments it is not possible for Community Safety Teams to visit lifeboat stations or other venues and conduct face to face refresher training so our team have decided to put together their own training schedule to help keep team members refreshed on essential skills and knowledge.

So, that they are able to deploy effectively when the time comes. Some of the areas that they will be covering includes: open water swimming, basic life support, Advice on Board (AOB), calling for help devices and kayaking.  The team is lucky to have a wide range of subject matter experts amongst it’s members who are happy to deliver high quality awareness workshops to refresh and remind the team on essential skill and topic areas.

lifejacketclinic COVID19thanetRNLICommunitysafety RNLIWatersafety RNLISeasafety Thanetlifeguards Respectthewater Bewateraware drowningprevention lifejacketclinic spinlock Ramsgatelifeboat Margatelifeboat Royaltempleyachtclub RTYC

John Homer, the longest serving member of our team delivered a very detailed and comprehensive workshop drawing on his extensive knowledge and experience through many years of sailing.

John said “lifejackets are vital in helping you stay safe whilst on the water. A  lifejacket or buoyancy aid could have saved the lives of eleven individuals in 2018.  Whatever the weather or sea conditions our recommendation is always wear a lifejacket and get it fully serviced/checked according to the manufacturers guidelines”.

lifejackets RNLI adviceonboard thanetcommunitysafety seasafety lifejacketclinic
Photo credit: John Homer (pre COVID-19)

John used a detailed power point presentation to brief team members and a practical demonstration to highlight key points. We are very grateful to John and the rest of the team who were able to attend the on-line workshop to keep their skills and knowledge refreshed.

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Here are some of our lifejacket checks which you can use:

  • 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.
  • Even if it is a jacket with an inspection window, undoe the lifejacket at the point next to the inflator.
  • Check the gas cylinder is hand tight, or if it’s a bayonet type, is it firmly locked in position.
  • If the lifejacket is new to you, remove the cylinder and check it has not been fired.  Previously, our team have found in anumber of case that lifejackets which have been gifted have been fired.  You will be surprised to learn that some brand new lifejackets will have an out-of-date cylinder, so it is always worth checking.
  • Replace the cylinder if required (these can be purchased from most chandlers).
  • Look for the green coloured indicators on the trigger and if fitted, on the automatic firing system.
  • 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.
  • Get the jacket serviced at the manufacturer’s recommended intervals.  This is highly recommended.
  • Undertake a thorough inspection of each and every lifejacket at least once a year – more often if the lifejacket is used frequently.

lifejacketchecks RNLI RNLICommunitysafety thanet

How can you find out more information about lifejacket checks?

If you would like any further information then please do not hesitate to drop us a direct message on Facebook.

A check by an RNLI Community Safety Advisor is not the equivalent of a lifejacket service. Lifejackets should be serviced by an approved service agent.

Thank you for reading and stay safe!

lifejacket clinic Community Safety Thanet
Lifejacket clinic Margate lifeboat station 2019. Photo credit: Thanet RNLI Community Safety
Further useful links

How to choose the right lifejacket

Lifejackets – useless unless worn

Sign-up to our newsletter

COVID-19 lockdown Ramsgatelifeboat Margatelifeboat Thanetlifeguards Margatecoastguard RNLICommunitysafety RNLIWatersafety respectthewater Bewateraware weatheraware

Acknowledgements

Royal National Lifeboat Institution

HM Coastguard

Ramsgate Lifeboat Station

Margate Lifeboat Station

Royal Temple Yacht Club

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It’s Walk Your Dog Month 2020!

It’s Walk Your Dog Month!

Incase you weren’t aware January is Walk Your Dog Month and what better way to kick start your New Years Resolutions by getting out in the great outdoors and walking off some of that festive food and drink?

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Two of our team, Ian and Neil pictured with lovely dog walkers during one of our Coastal Dog Safety sessions in 2019

With obvious health benefits for both you and your dog(s), this awareness month is a great way to help dust off the January blues, get out and about, meet other dog walkers and improve your own and your dogs well being.

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There is nothing better than going out for a walk along the coast with your doggie, however, lifeboat crews and Coastguard Rescue Teams are regularly called out to dogs and their owners who have got into difficulty at the coast. Here are some tips to help you have an enjoyable, but safe time :

  1.  Always carry a means of ‘calling for help’ such as a fully charged mobile phone in a waterproof case and have it within easy reach

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     2.  Let someone know what your route will be and the latest time you will return. Why not use the  SafeTrx app or download What3Words app?

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3. Check the weather and tides before you venture out using either local tide tables or a smart device ap

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4. Heed local warning information advice

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5.  Be aware of your surroundings at all times, it is very easy to be distracted

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6.  Keep your dog on a lead if you are going to be on cliff paths or close to the sea. Cliff edges are dangerous and should be avoided at all costs

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7.  If your dog gets into difficulty in the water or falls down a cliff call ‘999’ and ask for the Coastguard, don’t try and attempt a rescue yourself. The Coastguard can mobilise specialist search and rescue teams.

tidetimes coastguard lifeboat communitysafety seasafety coastalsafety8. Wear the right clothing for the activity, what appears a nice day when you start off can easily change

We hope you have a great time walking your dog(s) along the coast!  Keep a look out on our social media channels as we run Coastal Dog Safety Stands from time to time around the Thanet coastline often giving out free doggie treats!

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Other useful links

Want to find out more about our teams lifesaving work? Why not sign-up to the monthly newsletter

Margate RNLI

Ramsgate RNLI

RNLI

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

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

Volunteers’ Week has landed

(Pictured above) Neil – RNLI Community Safety Advisor

Welcome to the start of Volunteers’ Week which is a chance to celebrate and say thank you for the fantastic contribution millions of volunteers make across the UK.  It takes place 1-7 June every year and is an opportunity to celebrate volunteering in all its diversity.

During the week we will be introducing you to some members of our team. Today, we would like to introduce you to Neil.  Neil is our throw bag trainer (Community Responder Scheme) who is responsible for training members of staff from bars, cafes and restaurants in how to use throw bags as part of the RNLI scheme to make water rescue equipment available at key venues to rescue a person should they end up in the water for whatever reason. Inaddition to this traning Neil can also be seen at events helping to share key safety messages on how to stay safe whilst enjoying time at the coast.  He is also a long serving member of the Ramsgate All Weather Lifeboat crew, available 24/7 on a pager to answer emergency calls saving lives at sea.  Neil also helps run the fantastic Thanet Lifeguard Club which is a hugely successful lifesaving club affliated to the Royal Lifesaving Society.

RNLI Community Safety Volunteer’ Week

Don’t Drink and Drown initiative around Ramsgate and Margate

RNLI Volunteers Vacancies Page

Find out how to volunteer for the HM Coastguard Team

Visiting the coast whilst on holiday? Know what to do in a coastal emergency.

Volunteers’ Week 1-7 June
Thanet RNLI Community Safety Team visit to Dover CGOC

Saturday 1st June marks the start of Volunteers’ Week which is a chance to celebrate and say thank you for the fantastic contribution millions of volunteers make across the UK.  Throughout the week we will be introducing you to some of our team members and the contribution they make to preventing incidents and drownings at the coast.  Stay tuned to find out more.

More information on Volunteers Week

RNLI Volunteering vacancies page

HM Coastguard Volunteering

Find out about volunteering with Kent Search and Rescue Team

National Boat Fire Safety Week 27th May – 2nd June
Members of Thanet CS team pictured chatting to a boat owner about boat safety

Monday 27th May marks the start of the National Boat Fire Safety Week.  The aim of this week is to raise awareness of how boaters on both coastal and inland waterways can prevent fire and carbon monoxide incidents and how to plan to react if an incident occur.   Many fires and carbon monoxide incidents happen as a result of human error, poor installation of equipment/appliances and on occasion, dangerous practices by boaters. 

This is campaign is also backed by the National Fire Chief’s Council and is actively supported by our team.  Recently we undertook to ‘walk the pontoons’ at Ramsgate Harbour chatting to boat owners about safety including fire safety onboard their vessel.  During this highly important campaign we will be posting some boat fire safety tips on our social media channels.

For more information on this campaign week go along to National Fire Chief’s website – message for boaters during boat fire safety week.

How to book a free Advice on Board session with a RNLI Community Safety Team

Would you like to find out how to get your lifejacket checked for free by the RNLI.

How to book a free presentation for your sailing or boating club

Want to learn more about staying safe on the water?  Try the RNLI Water Safety Advice Page