Thanet RNLI Community Safety

Why Should You Carry A VHF Radio If You Are A Kayaker, Sailor, Personal Water Craft user or Fishermen

Regularly at community events our team are asked why should you carry a VHF radio if you are a kayaker, dingy sailor, paddle boarder, personal water craft user, or off-shore fishermen when they could use their mobile phone instead if they get into difficulty?  Even if you are not going far offshore you might not be able to get a mobile phone signal.  Wet mobile phones don’t work very well and who knows what sea or weather conditions you may experience.

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Unfortunately, due to safety restrictions placed upon us due to the COVID-19 pandemic we have had to postpone many of our drowning prevention initiatives and lifesaving activity. However, we are still busy sharing key safety messages via social media and are permitted to carry out some ‘social distanced’ activity although on a limited basis.  We are continuing to keep subscribers up to date with all the latest news with an e-newsletter which is delivered straight to your inbox.

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Anglers – do you plan your fishing trips with safety in mind?

Angling is one of the most popular hobbies and sports enjoyed by a wide cross section of the community and at all age ranges.  Between 2011-2015, 50 anglers tragically lost their lives while fishing around the UK coastline*.

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Professor Mike Tipton – Portsmouth University

Sadly, expert evidence from Professor Mike Tipton of Portsmouth University (2012) suggests that many of those lives might have been saved if the anglers had been wearing lifejackets.

If you are ill prepared and don’t know what to do things if things go wrong a nice day out can very easily turn into a nightmare.  Colm Plunkett was wearing a lifejacket and had a plan when he got into difficulty whilst out angling. Check out the video below:

Here is some top safety tips to help you keep safe:

  1.  Should I let someone know where I am going and what time I will be back? Always let someone know where you will be fishing and what time you will be back. This will assist search and rescue teams with an area to start searching should you not return on time.

 

2.  Carry a calling for help device such as a VHF radio or mobile phone in a waterproof case so that  you can call for help if you get into difficulty.

3.  Always wear a lifejacket no matter what type of weather/conditions or locations you are angling from.  If you end up in the water and you are wearing a lifejacket, you are four times more likely to survive (Professor Mike Tipton Portsmouth University) More information on which lifejacket to wear – RNLI 

4.  Do you know what to do if someone ends up in the water or gets into difficulty? More information on what to do.

5.  What is ‘Float to Live’ – If you end up in the water, the RNLI recommend that you float on your back until you get your breath back. More information on Float to Live

6.  Who Do I call in a coastal emergency at the coast? If you see an animal or person who you think is in difficulty in the water or at the coast phone ‘999’ or ‘112’ straightaway and ask for the Coastguard. Getting the right equipment and the correct rescue teams mobilised to the scene will have a significant impact on the outcome of the incident.

7. What is SafeTrx? Many anglers, divers, kayakers, open water swimmers and sailors are downloading the free SafeTrx mobile phone app which charts your passage and alerts an emergency contact if you fail to report in at an allocated time.  Open water swimmers and divers are registering themselves as the ‘craft’ and will also notify the HM Coasguard if someone is late reporting in.

8. What clothing and kit should I pack for a fishing trip.  Wearing a lifejacket will improve your chances by up four times if you end up in the water.  Wearing crotch straps will also have a significant impact on the effectiveness of your lifejacket if you end up in the water.  Why not check out the Henry Gilbey video below:

  9.   Is it better to take a mate along when I go fishing? There is always someone to share those great angling stories with over a cuppa or a bite to eat afterwards.  Having a mate with you also ensures that there is someone to call for help if you get into difficulty.

10. Should I check tides and weather before I go fishing.  It may seem obvious to check the tide times and weather forecast, but a recent lifeboat launch rescued two anglers who had been caught out by the tide. There are plenty of mobile device app’s which are free to download and use to show tide times and weather forecasts.

11. I have heard of Personal Locator Beacons, but what do they do? A PLB will increase the chances of search and rescue teams locating you quickly if you end up in the water in difficulty.  There are plenty of examples of where sailors, kayakers and fishermen who have ended up in the water and have activated their PLB which has saved their life.  They need to be registered with your details with the HM Coastguard.

 

12.  What COVID-19 Safety Precautions should I take when I go fishing?

Check out the latest government COVID-19 safety precautions wherever you decide to visit.

 

How can I find out more information?

When was the last time that you checked your lifejacket

Top 10 lifejacket checks which could help save your life

Drop us a DM on Facebook or Instagram if you would like your lifejackets checked for free or an ‘Advice on Board’ session (free check of your boat or craft to help you with safety). Please be aware that due to COVID-19 safety protocols we have had to suspend our lifejacket and Advice on Board sessions until further notice.  However, we are happy to provide one-to-one advice over a virtual conference call.

 

Acknowledgments:

RNLI

Colm Plunkett

HM Coastguard

Henry Gilbey

Statistics

*RNLI analysis of WAID UK fatalities accidental and natural causes only 2011-15 coastal data set

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

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Ramsgate Lifeboat

Margate Lifeboat

 

Acknowledgements

British Kitesports Association

Royal National Lifeboat Institution

HM Coastguard

Kent Pirates

Out of date flares – How Do You Dispose Of Them Safely?

If you are a sailor, yachtsmen or other water sport enthusiast who has purchased flares or pyrotechnics, you will have asked …..”how should I dispose of flares or time expired pyrotechnics (TEP’s) safely”.

The advice is to firstly contact your supplier where you purchased the flares from and enquire whether they offer a ‘take back facility’ which may incur a small charge. Alternatively, speak with a life-raft maintenance centre or enquire with your council recycling centre.

 

If the flares are still unable to disposed of safely then you are recommended to contact your nearest Coastguard licensed site.  Please bear in mind that due to current COVID-19 safety protocols being operated by the HM Coastguard it may not be possible to dispose of them via this route at this time.

The nearest CGOC (Coastguard Operations Centre) for East Kent is based at Dover and can be contacted on 01304 210 008.

Other licensed coastguard disposal locations are as follows:

CGOC Aberdeen (licensed site: Buchan coastguard operations base) Tel: 01224 592 334.

CGOC Aberdeen (licensed site: Inverness coastguard operations base) Tel: 01224 592 334.

CGOC Aberdeen (licensed site: St Andrews coastguard operations base) Tel: 01224 592 334.

CGOC Belfast 02891 463 933.

CGOC Belfast (licensed site: Girvan coastguard rescue equipment store) 02891 463 933.

CGOC Falmouth 01326 317 575.

CGOC Falmouth (Licensed Site Paignton coastguard operations base) 01803 882 704.

CGOC Holyhead Tel: 01407 762 051.

CGOC Humber Tel: 01262 672 317.

CGOC Humber (North Norfolk coastguard operations base) Tel: 01262 672 317.

CGOC Milford Haven Tel: 01646 690 909.

CGOC Shetland Tel: 01595 692 976.

National Maritime operations centre (licensed site Daedalus training centre) Tel 02392 552 100.

CGOC Stornoway Tel: 01851 702 013.

London Coastguard operations base Tel: 02083 127 380

RNLI headquarters Poole Tel: 01202 336 336.

(Reference : Maritime Coastguard Agency website)

The HM Coastguard have no responsibility for flare disposal and will only accept a small number at their discretion from private indviduals and small independent fishing vessels.

On contacting the relevant CGOC they will ask the following questions:

  • Who you have previously contacted to arrange disposal
  • How many flares you need to dispose
  • How old are the flares
  • What condition are the flares in
  • If the CGOC can help, they will arrange for a time for you to deliver the flares to an appropriate base/location where staff will be able to accept them safely

You may be asked to travel a significant distance to attend a disposal site and wait several weeks

 

It is worthy to note not to turn up without an appointment at a HM Coastguard premises as you are likely to be turned away (not all premises are staffed 24/7) flares can’t be accepted from a business organisation.

 

Flares are highly dangerous

  • DO NOT dump carrier bags of flares on the doorstep of Coastguard Station’s, Coastguard Rescue Equipment Stores, Fire Stations, Police buildings or Lifeboat Station’s. Many of these locations maybe unstaffed and the dumping of potentially dangerous flares is a safety hazard and against the law. Irresponsibly discarded flares may be picked up by children who could be seriously injured or killed by an abandoned pyrotechnic. In one incident a military Explosive Ordnance Disposal team had to be called out to a device which had been left outside a Coastguard station which also put the Coastguard team unavailable for emergency calls.

covid-19 lockdown armybombdisposal counteried Royallogisticcorpsbombdisposal timeexpiredpyrotechnics legacy2ww secondworldwatbombthanet margatelifeboat margatecoastguard RNLICommunitysafety RNLIwatersafety
Photo Credit: Margate Coastguard Rescue Team

  • Do not put flares in household rubbish, garden waste or public litter bins. They can cause extensive damage to refuse collection facilities and may injure persons who come into contact with them. An incident involving a worker at a recycling centre found out to his cost.

As a reminder

  • It is illegal to fire flares on land or in a harbour; fire flares at sea for testing, practice or as fireworks
  • Damaged or out of date flares should never be used.
  • It is illegal to dump pyrotechnics at sea.

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Margate’s All Weather Mersey lifeboat – Photo credit: Sarah Hewes

Every year lifeboat crews and Coastguard Rescue Teams are called out to the sighting of flares out at sea.  Whilst personnel from both organisations will never complain about being called out to an emergency or what looks to be someone in need of help, in whatever weather and at any time of the day or night they urge people not to let off flares at sea unless it is a genuine emergency.

Acknowledgements

HM Coastguard, Greenock Coastguard Rescue Team

RNLI

 

More useful links

HM Coastguard

British Sub-Aqua Club

Thanet businesses and organisations asked to help spread important water safety messages during school Summer holidays

As a result of COVID-19 safety protocols our RNLI Community Safety Team is currently unable to deploy to deliver face2face water safety messaging and drowning prevention advice sessions.  We have recently witnessed a significant increase in the number of visitors to UK beaches and coastline coupled with a reduced number of beaches that are able to be covered by lifeguards it is even more important to get water safety messaging out to as wide an audience as possible.

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Our team is asking whether B&B’s, hotels, cafes, restaurants, councils, shops, pubs, bars and businesses selling beach goods across Thanet which are located alongside or close to coastal and beach areas can help us share the Beach Safety message – “Beach lifeguards Can’t Everywhere This Summer” by printing and displaying the poster (downloadable poster contained here and below); and having conversations with their customers and members of the public about knowing to call the Coastguard via ‘999’ should they see or hear someone in difficulty in the water.

Also, if you have a social media account (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or LinkedIn) then please see if you can share some of the messaging, which again is included in a link below using the #BeBeachSafe

RNLI Beach Safety Printable Resources  

RNLI Social Media Resources

coastguard watersafety seasaafety communitysafetyrnli

Andy Mills from Thanet’s RNLI Community Safety Team said “we readily appreciate that this is a very busy time of the year for all coastal businesses who have also had extra challenges to cope with due to COVID-19, but we are asking them to do what they can to help us spread the safety message “Beach lifeguards can’t be everywhere this Summer – Protect Your Family, Follow Safety Advice, Save Lives – In An Emergency Dial ‘999’ for the Coastguard”.

 

Obviously, we don’t want to put anyone at risk and only pass on the message where it is safe to do so complying with the latest Government guidelines.  We want everyone to have a fun time at the coast, but taking on board some safety advice before you visit could help you from getting into difficulty and putting yourselves and others in danger.

Volunteer lifeboat crews and HM Coastguard Rescue Teams have tirelessly remained available 24/7 to respond to emergency calls from members of the public throughout COVID-19″.

 

Thank you for your help in sharing the safety messaging which is much appreciated.

 

Other useful links

It’s Hot Out There – Where To Do If You Get Into Difficulty

Do You Know What To Do If You Saw Someone Drowning?

RNLI Water Safety

Lifeboat Community Safety Team enjoy a day at the beach!

Our Community Safety Team held a mobile stand at Dumpton Gap, near Broadstairs on March 1st aimed at giving safety advice to dog walkers.  Weather for the event marked a complete turnaround to previous weekends where the country had faced several major storms.  So a combination of a beautiful sunny morning and lower winds that many dog walkers took advantage of the conditions and the stunning coastline that Thanet has to offer.

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Our stand was carried out by Thanet RNLI Community Safety Advisers, John Homer and Ian Lockyer.  They had good in-depth conversations with just over 300 people, mainly concentrating on dog walkers.  This number also included walkers and runners.  Advice included what to do if an owner was cut off from their dog along the coast as well as advice on local tidal cut off points.

One of the things that the team noticed was that nearly all the local dog walkers were aware of the local cut off points and also used tidal apps and almanacs.

 

Every member of the public that the team spoke to were very positive about the advice given and favourable to everything the RNLI does.  Even the stand proved popular with the dogs with several marking their territory on the panels.

Overall a fantastic, positive morning with some good advice given.

Other useful links

Half term Fun and Dogs

It’s Walk Your Dog Month

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Ramsgate Lifeboat

It’s Walk Your Dog Month 2020!

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

RNLI Beach safety CommunitySafety sea safety Thanet

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

 

 

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

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