Beach Safety Flags

Simple Safety Advice – will help keep you safe

Looking at the Bank holiday weather forecast it does appear that we are expecting some better weather and higher temperatures. Hurrah!

If you are planning to head to the coast or perhaps you are already enjoying your Summer break away, the RNLI (Royal National Lifeboat Institution) wants everyone to have a fabulous time, but taking on board some simple safety advice will enable you to enjoy a safe time too.

Inflatables

You may have read some of the media reports that the RNLI have rescued 112 people on inflatables so far this year who have drifted out to sea.  Two young people were safely rescued off Botany Bay, Broadstairs in July 2019. Our advice about taking inflatables to the coast is that they are meant for the pool and not the sea.  If you do use them in the sea follow this advice:

  • Children should be supervised at all times by an adult
  • Inflatables should be kept close to the shoreline
  • Inflatables should only be used between the red and yellow flags on a lifeguarded beach
  • Never use an inflatable in big waves
  • Never use an inflatable when the orange windsock is flying as this indicates off-shore winds that will blow the inflatable out to sea
  • Always follow the advice of a lifeguard
  • Whenever you take to the sea we recommend that you and your children wear a suitable lifejacket or buoyancy aid. This will provide the necessary flotation should the inflatable suffer a puncture or similar

Float to Live

Enjoying a great swim in the sea is a fantastic way to relax and enjoy some exercise. However, if you do find yourself in difficulty or fall into the water unexpectedly remember to ‘Float to Live’ and watch this short video which could help save your life.

Cold Water Shock

Have you heard of ‘cold water shock’?  This video will give you some lifesaving advice about ‘cold water shock’.   Some tips to help you survive cold water shock include:

  • Take a minute. The initial effects of cold water pass in less than a minute so don’t try to swim straight away
  • Relax and float on your back to catch your breath. Try to get hold of something that will help you float
  • Keep calm then call for help or swim for safety if you’re able

Beach Safety

Taking alittle time before you set up for the day to think about the five safety tips above will help you enjoy an enjoyable time.  Lifeguards are frequently notified of missing children so having a plan incase a child goes missing is really worthwhile.  Children’s waterproof wrist bands which carry their parents/guardians mobile telephone contact number are available from the Lifeguards at most beaches.

Knowing who to call in the event of hearing or seeing a person or animal in the water in difficulty or at the coast is so important. Over half the people we speak to during our events don’t know to dial ‘999’ or ‘112’ and ask for the Coastguard.  Asking for another emergency service could waste vital minutes in getting specialist search and rescue teams; and the correct equipment to the scene quickly.  More information on knowing who to call in a coastal emergency

Cut-Off by the tide

Around Thanet we are very lucky to have some beautiful coastline which is fabulous for walking and exploring.  Similar to other parts of the UK, some of this coastline (Dumpton Gap, Stone Bay and environs, Botany Bay and Kingsgate Bay) gets cut-off by the in-coming tide and every year people have to be rescued by lifeguards and lifeboat crews.  Getting cut-off by the tide is pretty easy to do unless you take some precautions:

  • Check the weather and tide times via tides near me app 
  • Carry a means of calling for help eg fully charged mobile phone in a waterproof case
  • Let someone know where you are going and the latest time you will return
  • Wear the right clothing and equipment for the activity
  • Be aware of your surroundings at all times and take noice of hazard warning signs
  • If you should hear or see an animal or person in difficulty in the water or at the coast dial ‘999’ or ‘112’ straight away and ask for the Coastguard every second counts
  • If you do get cut-off by the tide don’t enter the water, but dial ‘999’ ask for the Coastguard
  • If you fall into the water unexpectedly float on your back and follow the float to live principles

Don’t Drink and Drown

If you are out for a few drinks with your mates celebrating the Bank Holiday weekend make sure you take onboard the safety advice mentioned above.  Mixing swimming and alcohol could have dire consquences.  Find out more about the Don’t Drink and Drown campaign

John Homer one of our team’s most experienced Community Safety Advisors said “we hope everyone has an excellent Bank Holiday weekend and the weather stays warm. Please take some time to think about the safety advice and have a plan if things go wrong. Recently two young people who were swept out to sea on an inflatable knowing how to ‘float to live’ definitely saved their lives”.

Other useful links

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

Find your nearest lifeguarded beach

Why inflatables are not designed for the beach

It’s hot out there – what to do if you get into difficulty

Acknowledgements

RNLI


Andy Mills

Thanet RNLI Community Safety Officer Striving to reduce accidental drownings by 50% by 2024 by spreading key safety messages to Thanet communities and its visitors.