Please Don’t Use The Sea For Exercise Or Recreation

The RNLI (Royal National Lifeboat Institution) and the HM Coastguard are both calling on people not to take part in any water based activity on or in the sea, to help reduce the risk to the lifeboat crews, Coastguard Rescue Teams and Coastguard helicopter crews being exposed to COVID-19 and the pressure on their own time.

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Margate’s Mersey ALB.  Photo credit : Sarah Hewes

Normally, hoards of people would be flocking to the coast over the Easter weekend and holiday period to enjoy the joys of the beaches and coastal area’s.  However, both the RNLI and HM Coastguard are asking everyone to abide by the government instructions to Stay at Home, Protect The NHS and Save Lives.

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Image credit: HM Coastguard

The government have decreed that everyone is permitted to go outside for their daily exercise whether it it is a walk, run, cycle or jog, however, the RNLI and HM Coastguard do not recommend taking part in any activity that is on or in the sea. This would include: any type of sailing, personal water craft (PWC), in-beach play, boat fishing, rowing, motor boating, kitesurfing, paddle boarding, off-shore angling, kayaking, canoeing, coasteering, diving, climbing or swimming amongst others.

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HM Coastguard Officers dressed in water safety kit during a multi-agency exercise. Photo credit: Margate Coastguard Rescue Team

The RNLI’s lifeboat crews and the HM Coastguard Rescue Teams are still available 24/7 for emergency calls, however, on every occasion a crew or team is called out this will put extra pressure on the personnel responding to the call and other emergency services such as the NHS hero’s, Ambulance Service; and Fire and Rescue Service. Additionally, potentially exposing teams and staff to the Corona Virus.

Our team really appreciate that it’s tempting to visit the coast. We all absolutely love the coast too. But please, this weekend, stretch your legs local to where you live, don’t stretch the RNLI and Coastguard resources and don’t travel to the coast. To quote the Coastguard “It’s not a holiday, it’s a national emergency”.

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Gareth Morrison (Head of RNLI Water Safety) said: “We know that people who live at the coast still want to exercise by the sea, but when you do this, please think of the potential impact of your actions on RNLI Lifeboat crew volunteers and other emergency services.  While you could be fully competent and never needed to be rescued, by going out on the water you could encourage others who are less proficient to take part in similar activities”.

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“Since the government lockdown was introduced around the UK Coast, our lifeboat have been called out all too often to rescue people. So, if you do go out for a walk or a run at the coast, please follow the RNLI Safety Advice”:

  1.  Take care near cliff’s – know your route and your limitations

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     2.  Check the weather forecast and the tide times

tides cut-off RNLI RNLICommunitysafety thanet Kent RNLICommunitySafety3. If you fall into the water unexpectedly FLOAT TO LIVE, fight your instinct to thrash around, lean back, extend back, extend your arms and legs – FLOAT

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4. In a coastal emergency dial ‘999’ ask for the Coastguard

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Gareth added “Our lifeboat crews are still at the ready 24/7 – thanks to their own courage in a time of crisis and the generoristy of our supporters”.

How to support RNLI crews during COVID-19

If people are compelled to show their support from home, we ask them to help by giving something that keeps our volunteers ready to launch, replace worn-out kit or helps us repair a lifeboat. To support our lifesavers go to the RNLI donation page

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No lifeguard patrols this weekend

There will be no lifeguard patrols at any beaches this weekend as the planned roll-out of beach lifeguard patrols was postponed until further notice following government advice to stay at home to save lives and protect the NHS.

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Botany Bay – Photo credit: Thanet RNLI Community Safety.

Thank you for taking the time to read our blog. From all of the team we wish you a safe Easter weekend!

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Coastal Dog Safety event at Dumpton Gap. Picture credit: Thanet RNLI Community Safety. Picture taken before COVID-19 social distancing regulations came into force.

Other useful references

What is the difference between the Coastguard and RNLI?

Stay at Home, Protect the NHS and Save Lives

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Margate’s Inshore Lifeboat. Photo credit: Margate LPO

Acknowledgements

RNLI

HM Coastguard

Public Health England


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.