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.

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Photo credit: Thanet LG Club

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.

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Thanet Lifeguard Club undertaking a ‘dry’ lifesaving training session. Photo credit: Thanet LG Club

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.

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Medal winners at the 2019 lifesaving championships in Leeds, Neil Morgan pictured far right. Photo credit: Thanet LG Club

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.

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Thanet Lifeguard Club competing at the Commonwealth championships in Leeds 2019. Photo credit: Thanet LG Club

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.

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Thanet Coastguard Club Beach Competition involving all age groups Photo credit: Thanet LG Club

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.

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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.

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Thanet LG Club receiving an RLSS award at Worcester Cathedral for their tireless lifesaving work Photo credit: Thanet LG Club

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.

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Thanet Lifeguard Club taking part in the Margate Carnival 2019. Photo credit: Thanet LG Club

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.

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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.

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Beach lifeguard training in full swing Photo creddit Thanet LG Club

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 .

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Thanet LG Club working jointly with the RNLI Lifeguards for refresher training

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.

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Photo credit: Thanet LG Club

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


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.