Thanet RNLI Community Safety

How to have a fabulous, but safe time at the coast with your dog

There is nothing better than enjoying a lovely walk with your dog at the coast taking in sea air, grabbing some exercise and enjoying time with your friends and family.  However, lifeboat crews and Coastguard Rescue Teams (CRT) are frequently called out to rescue dogs that have entered the water for one reason or another or fallen over the edge of a cliff.  Sometimes their owners will enter the water to try and rescue them too. In 2019 RNLI crews were launched 157 times to incidents involving dogs.

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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

Sign-up to your newsletter

Ramsgate Lifeboat

Margate Lifeboat

 

Acknowledgements

British Kitesports Association

Royal National Lifeboat Institution

HM Coastguard

Kent Pirates

Lifeboat Community Safety Team Help Beach Goers Avoid Tidal Cut-Off’s In Thanet

On Saturday (19th September) our Lifeboat Community Safety Team deployed using their Incident Prevention Engagement tactic to Thanet’s beaches due to the unusually high ‘spring’ tides over the weekend.  These tides are caused by lunar activity, such tides ‘spring’ forth with the greatest difference between their high and low points – meaning it’s easier to get caught out and cut off.   Coupled with the forecast of high winds and a relatively warm day there was a significant chance of people getting cut off by the tide.

 

Arriving on Botany Bay it was apparent that the beach was proving a popular Saturday retreat with a large number of people enjoying the mild late September temperatures.   Whilst chatting (socially distanced of course) with some of the visitors to the beach it was apparent that they weren’t aware of the dangers of the incoming high ‘spring’ tide, the tidal cut-off ‘hotspots’ ie Botany Bay, Kingsgate, Stone bay and environs; and Dumpton Gap. As well as the need to move around further up the beach to safety.

Whilst chatting to the lovely beach visitors our team covered the following safety advice:

  • Check the tide times and weather before setting out
  • Carry a ‘calling for help’ device ie fully charged mobile phone or VHF radio in a water proof case if possible so you can call for help if you get into difficulty
  • Be aware of your surroundings at all times
  • Read and follow local safety advice displayed at the entrance to beaches
  • If you are going to take a swim always take a friend or family member follow the Water Safety Code
  • Not to enter the water if you are cut-off by the tide, but to shout for help
  • If you do end up in the water, float on your back until you get your breath back
  • In all coastal emergencies dial ‘999’ ask for the Coastguard

The team spoke to 55 people in total who were all very appreciative of the advice and guidance.  A group who were using an inflatable in the poor sea conditions were also spoken with and advised strongly against using the inflatable, who took onboard the advice and removed it to the safety of the beach.

Our team learnt later on in the afternoon that Margate Coastguard Rescue Team, Rescue Helicopter and Margate Lifeboat were tasked to a person possibly in difficulty in the water at Botany Bay.  Thankfully the person had come out of the water and was ok.

coastguard watersafety seasaafety communitysafetyrnli

John Homer (RNLI Community Safety Advisor) said “If you are visiting the coastline this weekend our advice is always to check out the tide times and weather before you set out.  We want you to have a great time, but taking onboard some advice could help save your life and help stop you getting into difficulty. We would like to thank everyone who spared a few minutes to speak with our team on Saturday and we hope you enjoyed your time at the coast”.

Useful links

How to check the tide times

Sign-up up to our newsletter to keep you updated on our water safety and drowning prevention activity

Can I suffer from cold water shock?

Find out how a 10-year old boy called Ravi used ‘Float to Live’ to save his life at Skegness

 

Acknowledgements

Royal National Lifeboat Institution

HM Coastguard

Margate RNLI LPO

How To Enjoy A Fabulous & Safe Time At The Coast This Summer – Our Ultimate Guide

How To Enjoy A Fabulous & Safe Time At The Coast This Summer – Our Ultimate Guide

Just recently we’ve been very fortunate to enjoy some really nice weather and higher temperatures. Hurrah I hear you say!  This has resulted in large numbers of people flocking to the beach to soak up the sun and enjoy the seaside.

The RNLI (Royal National Lifeboat Institution), along with the HM Coastguard and all the Volunteer Beach Wardens who are helping to keep our beaches safe during COVID-19 want everyone to have a fabulous time, but to take on board some simple safety advice which will enable you to enjoy a safe time too.

Inflatables

You may have read some of the media reports that the RNLI have rescued countless 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.  Due to the COVID-19 situation the only beaches which are patrolled by RNLI lifeguards in Thanet are Viking Bay, Broadstairs and Margate Main Sands.

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 enjoying a drink whilst at the coast 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 time at the beach and the weather stays warm. Please take some time to think about the safety advice and have a plan if things go wrong. In 2019 two young people who were swept out to sea on an inflatable at Botany Bay knew 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

Beach goers at Botany Bay learn how to stay safe at the beach this Summer

On Saturday 20th April Our team deployed out to Botany Bay with a pop-up water safety stand. The team shared key safety messages particularly about beach safety, the need to call the Coastguard for all coastal emergencies, swimming🏊‍♀️, kayacking🛶, surfing🏄‍♀️ and dog walking🐕. In addition to highlighting Swim Safe and lifeguard recruitment. A hugely successful day chatting to lovely beach and coastal visitors. Great to see one of our Respect The Water campaign stickers being stuck to a scooter.

More useful links:

Learn how to float to live – Thanet CS Team

Can I suffer from cold water shock? – Thanet CS Team

Why inflatables are not good for the coast – Thanet CS Team

How Should You Treat A Weever Fish Sting?

Picture credit : RNLI Lifeguards

Weever fish are plain looking fish and are very common during the Summer months around the UK shore line. Often they nestle in the sand and in water just a few centimetres deep.  A weever fish will raise a sharp spine on it’s back in self defence if it is trodden upon.  Here are some top tips from our Lifeguard colleagues:

  • Place the effected area in water as hot as you can stand it for around 30 minutes. This will destroy the protein based venom and will allow you to continue your day at the beach. Test the water first so as not to scald the person who has been stung.
  • Whilst the stings are painful they are generally nothing to worry about and will not cause any significant damage

There are far greater risks and hazards associated with the coastal environments: the tides, water movement and the effects of cold water shock.

It is always recommended to visit a lifeguarded beach where trained lifeguards are available for advice for all things beach safety and first aid incase you are stung by a weever fish.

More useful information:

Where can I find my nearest lifeguarded beach?

Our blog about Cold Water Shock

How the RNLI keeps beaches safe

Discover more information about waves

Acknowledgements

RNLI Lifeguards

How Do I Prevent Being Cut-Off By The Tide?

Getting cut-off by the tide is pretty easy to do unless you take some sensible precautions and plan ahead before you set off.  All around the UK and Ireland there are areas that get cut-off by the tide very easily. Each year Ramsgate and Margate lifeboat crews are called to rescue people cut-off by the tide majority of the time around the Botany Bay, Kingsgate Bay, Stone Bay and Dumpton Gap areas.

Over half of the people we speak to when out and about don’t know to call ‘999’ or ‘112’ and ask for the Coastguard in any coastal emergency.

 

Here are our top 10 tips to help you from being cut-off from the tide

  1. Always check the tide times before venturing out via ‘tides near me’ or the BBC Weather page
  2. Tell someone where you are going and when you will be back
  3. Carry a means of calling for help such as a fully charged mobile phone or VHF radio
  4. Consider downloading the free RYA ap called SafeTrx that helps let people know your route
  5. Wear the right clothing and equipment for the activity
  6. Check and be mindful of local hazard warning signs
  7. Be aware of your surroundings at all times, eg when the tide is due in and dangerous cliff edges
  8. If you see or hear someone or an animal in danger at the coast dial ‘999’ or ‘112’ straight away  and ask for the Coastguard giving an accurate location
  9. Do not enter the water if you get cut-off by the tide
  10. If you do end up in the water unexpectedly, float on your back rather than panicking

tidalcutoff thanetrnlicommunitysafety RNLI Lifeboats drowningprevention RLSS ROSPA watersafety
Kingsgate Bay, Broadstairs – Tidal Cut-Off High Risk area

More useful links

Ramsgate Lifeboat Station

How To Float To Live – Evan’s Story

HM Coastguard Beach Safety

Where Can I Find The Nearest Lifeguard Beach

Why inflatables are not for use at the Beach – Thanet RNLI Community Safety Team

Helping to deter tidal cut-off’s in Thanet

 

Don’t Paddle After Your Dog!

 

On Friday morning (14th June) Margate Inshore Lifeboat was requested to launch by the UK Coastguard to a person reported in the water at Botany Bay, after entering to try and rescue their dog who had got into difficulty in the sea.  The lifeboat launch was cancelled when the UK Coastguard received a further report that the person, along with a second person who also entered the water to assist together with the dog had made their way back to shore safely.

Members of the Thanet Community Safety Team using the ‘dog selfie’ frame at Dumpton Gap during a Coastal Dog Safety Pop-Up Stand

Friday’s call comes after another dog rescue near Minnis Bay on Thursday 6th June, when three friends rescued an 83-year old man who had jumped into the water to rescue his dog who unfortunately didn’t survive.  Fortunately, the rescued man didn’t require hospital treatment but was treated at the scene by South East Coast Ambulance Service.

RNLI Lifeboat Dog rescue compilation video

Andy Mills, RNLI Community Safety Volunteer gives this advice “if your dog does get into difficulty in the water or has fallen down a cliff, please do not enter the water or put yourself in danger, dial ‘999’ or ‘112’ ask for the Coastguard straight away. They will then task the appropriate rescue assets such as a lifeboat, Coastguard Rescue Team who are trained in cliff, mud and water rescue; or a Coastguard helicopter. The Coastguard or RNLI will not charge you for using their services and they won’t mind if you have made the call in good faith.

More information on RNLI dog walking advice

HM Coastguard Dog safety

Previous Thanet Community Safety Team blogspot on dog safety

Five things that you shouldn’t ignore about dog rescues!

Full acknowledgements to the RNLI for the use of the Youtube video

 

Inflatables aren’t designed for the beach!

With people flocking to the coast when the temperatures increase and weather improves the number of people being rescued from a wide range of inflatables increases such as unicorns, flamingo’s and inflatable boats.  Inflatables are not simply designed for the beach and it is easy to find yourself quickly swept out to sea.

The recent rescue of 5 year old girls at Minehead who had been swept one mile off shore

If you do choose to use an inflatable, the RNLI would like to remind people that:

  1.  They are only used near to the shore and between the red and yellow flags on a lifeguarded beach
  2.   Children are safely supervised at all times
  3.   Never take inflatables out in big waves
  4.   Never use them when the orange windsock is flying as this indicates an offshore wind which will  blow the inflatables out to sea
  5.   Whenever you take to the sea the RNLI recommends that you and your children wear a suitable lifejacket or buoyancy aid.  This will provide the necessary floatation should the inflatable suffer a puncture or similar.

One station in Hampshire in the Summer 2018 had to be called out to rescue four people from inflatables in trouble in just one day.

Find your nearest lifeguarded beach

How do the RNLI keep beaches safe

Find out how to stay safe at the coast

HM Coastguard inflatable safety advice

Acknowledgements to RNLI for the use of You Tube video and content

Community Safety Team helping to deter tidal cut-off’s

After two Lifeboat calls to tidal cut-off’s in and around the Kingsgate Bay area in the past seven days our team deployed their Incident Prevention Engagement (IPE) tactic on Sunday 12th May to the area.  This is a proven method of refreshing and reminding members of the public about tides, coastal safety and who to call in the event of a coastal emergency.   We enjoyed speaking with a range of people from the local area and also those visiting.  Some of those people we chatted with had checked the tide times before venturing out, had downloaded a tide app to their mobile smart device and knew to call the HM Coastguard in an emergency.

Chatting to Botany Bay kiosk owner Ross about our water safety work

Here are our top tips we chatted about on Sunday so that you can stay safe and have a great time whilst at the coast:

1.  Carry a means of calling for help eg fully charged mobile phone

2.  Check the tide times via the Tides Near Me App (available for Apple and Android devices)

3.  Tell someone the latest time you will be returning and your route

4.  Wear the right kit for the activity

5. Be aware of your surroundings at all times and heed local warning signage

6. If you are in any doubt whether an animal or person is in difficulty in the water dial ‘999’ or ‘112’ ask for the Coastguard without delay every second counts

7. If you do unexpectedly end up in the water float on your back and resist the temptation to thrash around. More expert advice check out ‘float to live’.

Many dog owners use the beautiful local bays to enjoy walks. It is important to share our key safety messages amongst this group of not to enter the water if their doggie goes for an extended paddle

Coastal Safety stand at Mayday Coffee Morning

Saturday saw the fabulous Ramsgate RNLI Fundraisers Mayday Coffee Morning raising funds for new lifeboat crew kit. The coffee morning included free tours around the lifeboats, bric a brac stands, the super RNLI shop, lovely cake and coffee; and of course our Community Safety team sharing key safety messages. It was lovely to see Councillor Raushan Ara (Thanet District Councillor for Ramgsate) pop by and have a chat with our team. Raushan is hugely supportive of our team’s drowning prevention work and that of the RNLI and it was fabulous to have the opportunity to chat with her. Our team hugely enjoyed the morning chatting to visitors about water safety.

Councillor Raushan Ara visiting the Mayday Coffee Morning

One of the most important safety messages we talked about was the recent tidal cut-off’s in and around Kingsgate Bay. Our top tips when visiting the coast are:

  1. Check the tide times and weather before you set out
  2. Wear the right kit for the activity & grab some training if you are taking up a new activity from an approved provider
  3. Always carry a means of ‘calling for help’ eg fully charged mobile phone
  4. Tell someone your plans eg when is the latest time that you will be back home
  5. Be aware of your surroundings at all times and heed local safety warnings
  6. If the event of hearing or seeing a person or animal in difficulty at the coast or in the water always dial ‘999’ or ‘112’ ask for the Coastguard without delay every second counts
  7. If you do end up in the water unexpectedly float on your back and float to live.

We would like to pass on our thanks to the Fundraising Team for inviting us along which was appreciated.

The Miss Ramsgate’s visiting the Coffee Morning and were presented with Respect the Water badges which they proudly wore.