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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Visiting the coast this Autumn? Here’s some top safety tips to help keep you safe

Some may argue that visits to the coast or beach during the Autumn is even more pleasurable than the Summer, what with the cooler temperatures, fabulous sky lines, less crowds and also the opening up of beaches that can be explored without worrying about restrictions on dog walking.   The lifeguard patrols have long since finished for the season, leaving beaches without that extra layer of surveillance and immediate highly trained help in times of need.

To enable you to enjoy the coast during the Autumnal months here is a run down on ten safety tips that you may like to consider. It is worthy to mention at this point that exploring the coast during stormy weather looks like great fun, but big waves and strong wind can easily knock you off your feet and place you in danger. The best place to observe stormy weather is often the inside of a nice coffee or tea shop with a cuppa and a cake.

  1.  Plan Ahead – check the tide times and weather forecast before you head out of the door. There are a variety of mobile device app’s which are free to download for your everyday use.  If you aren’t technically minded some harbour offices and businesses stock paper tide times booklets which are available at a nominal cost.  Local knowledge is always a good way of finding out whether it is safe to be venturing out to the coast.

safetrx RNLICommunitysafety seasafety thanetrnlicommunitysafety

2.  Download the SafeTrx App

Many walkers, open water swimmers, off-rock anglers and divers have downloaded this app and use it regularly, which is absolutely free to down-load and use. More information on SafeTrx

VHFradio mayday callingforhelp RNLI respectthewater bewateraware

3.  Carry a means of calling for help

Such as a fully charged mobile phone or VHF radio.  Having a means of calling for help will enable you to get help to you or anyone else in an emergency quickly. More information on calling for help devices.

4.  Know who to call in a coastal emergency

If you hear or see a person or animal in difficulty in the water or at the coast dial ‘999’ or ‘112’ immediately and ask for the Coastguard. This will allow the correct equipment and trained personnel are mobilised to the scene as soon as possible.


5If you end up in the water – what should you do?

RNLI advice is to float on your back until you get your breath back and then you can call for help by waving one arm and shouting towards the shoreline. More information on Float to Live.

6.  Know what to do if you saw someone in difficulty in the water

The RNLI’s advice is  Call for help rather than endanger your own life and the lives of others.  More information on what to do if you saw someone in difficulty in the water

7.  Wear a buoyancy aid or lifejacket

If you are taking part in any form of water activity such as kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding, sailing etc always wear a lifejacket or buoyancy aid. More information on lifejacket safety

8. Tell someone what your plans are

Before you head out speak with a family member or friend and let them know what will be the latest time you will return and your route.  This will help if you are overdue and HM Coastguard are alerted.  Try downloading the SafeTrx App

9.  Read and follow safety signs

Heed any safety signs that you may across on your coastal or beach trip. The information could help prevent getting involved in an incident which could have been avoided.


10.  Wear the right clothing or equipment for the activity

Wearing the correct kit and or equipment for the activity you taking part in will definitely enable you make the day more enjoyable.

More useful links

Half the people that accidentally drown never intended on entering the water

Cliff Edge Selfie’s

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

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



HM Coastguard

Ramsgate Lifeboat Station

What exactly is SafeTrx and how can it keep me safe?

Many people have been excitedly talking about the SafeTrx Ap, but what does it actually do to help keep you safe?

Check out this video:

The RYA outlines the key points of SafeTrx as:

  • Monitors your boat journeys and can alert emergency contacts should you fail to arrive on time. It allows you to track your journey on your phone.
  • The app provides all recreational boat users, particularly dinghy cruisers, Personal Watercraft (PWC) users, RIB users, canoers, kayakers, wind and kite surfers and smaller boat users with an easily accessible and simple to use means that can inform HM Coastguard of their voyage plans and dynamic location in the event of distress.
  • This app is freely available to anyone who wants to be safer afloat. It is free to download and there is no charge to use it.
  • You can enter your journey details directly from your smartphone and plan a trip knowing that should you not arrive by the time given, a nominated emergency contact will be alerted and advised to initiate appropriate action.
  • Where an emergency contact calls HM Coastguard about an overdue trip, they will have access to your location and SafeTrx trip data through a secure SafeTrx server.
  • Since SafeTrx periodically sends your location data back to a dedicated server, HM Coastguard’s response team can get help directly to you, and quickly.
  • Whilst components of the GMDSS (Global Maritime Distress and Safety system) remain the preferred means for communication and distress alerting, the SafeTrx app is a useful backup and particularly helpful for those on the many small craft that do not have the ability to fit or carry standard GMDSS equipment.
  • SafeTrx is an accessible tool that leisure craft users can use when going to sea. It does not replace GMDSS, EPIRB, PLB or AIS.

We were also keen to learn that divers and open water swimmers are now downloading the ap and using it for their activity by registering themselves. Our team whilst on a visit to a Coastguard Operations Centre were able to observe first hand the benefits of the SafeTrx system by watching an operational demonstration.

Download the SafeTrx Ap via the Play Store here

Download the SafeTrx Ap via the Ap Store here

More detailed information on the RYA SafeTrx Ap

The SafeTrx dedicated website

Sign-up to our monthly newsletter

The RYA SafeTrx user guide

RYA FAQ’s on SafeTrx

We are hugely grateful to the RYA and HM Coastguard for the use of words and pictures

Volunteers’ Week has landed

(Pictured above) Neil – RNLI Community Safety Advisor

Welcome to the start of Volunteers’ Week which is a chance to celebrate and say thank you for the fantastic contribution millions of volunteers make across the UK.  It takes place 1-7 June every year and is an opportunity to celebrate volunteering in all its diversity.

During the week we will be introducing you to some members of our team. Today, we would like to introduce you to Neil.  Neil is our throw bag trainer (Community Responder Scheme) who is responsible for training members of staff from bars, cafes and restaurants in how to use throw bags as part of the RNLI scheme to make water rescue equipment available at key venues to rescue a person should they end up in the water for whatever reason. Inaddition to this traning Neil can also be seen at events helping to share key safety messages on how to stay safe whilst enjoying time at the coast.  He is also a long serving member of the Ramsgate All Weather Lifeboat crew, available 24/7 on a pager to answer emergency calls saving lives at sea.  Neil also helps run the fantastic Thanet Lifeguard Club which is a hugely successful lifesaving club affliated to the Royal Lifesaving Society.

RNLI Community Safety Volunteer’ Week

Don’t Drink and Drown initiative around Ramsgate and Margate

RNLI Volunteers Vacancies Page

Find out how to volunteer for the HM Coastguard Team

Visiting the coast whilst on holiday? Know what to do in a coastal emergency.

One Year On

I thought I would update you on how our first year of being operational has gone. Wow, what a year! The Summer was incredibly hot, as hot as the Summmer of 1976, if you can remember that far back! No stand pipes for water this time or hosepipe bans, but the UK saw some of the worst grass fires for a long time. Well, what has happened:  we have attended over 60 events to-date (still a few more before the year is out including the Coastal Dog Walker Engagement Event with Thanet Police at Botany Bay on Saturday 13th October), this includes community events, talks to community and water activity groups, lifejacket clinic’s, and pop-up stands at beaches and harbours to name but a few.

We have also shared the key safety messages to as many different groups and communities as possible, including visiting the fabulous Margate Mosque and chatting to the Inman; and holding a Respect the Water stall in the Gravesend Gurdwara which was a massive success.  The team have spoken to visiting coach parties and train passengers at Margate on how they can stay safe whilst visiting the seaside. This has proved really worthwhile working in conjunction with face2face teams, lifeboat crew and lifeguards to continually help spread the beach safety messages.

Reminding and Refreshing Beach visitors on Safety Tips

Our team have raised £1,000 towards the RNLI through donations received from groups and individuals after delivering safety talks in the community and at local events.

We have forged collaborative links with a whole host of local community groups, partner agencies and charities so that we can continue our community safety activities and help spread the RNLI key safety messages to as wide an audience as posssible.


Our team raised £1,000 with the help of an awesome local Kent County Councillor, Margate Mayor and other local charitable groups towards the running and equipment costs for Swim Safe. Incase you haven’t heard of Swim Safe, it is swimming lessons and water safety awareness in the sea for children aged 7-14 years run inconjuction with Swim England and the RNLI.

Pictured above is our ‘selfie frame’, this was the very 1st outing at the Turner and Pooch Dog Event on 30th September at the Turner Contemporary in Margate.

So, to conclude we have come along way in twelve months and we are looking at making 2019 an even better year. If you would like to find out more about our work then why not follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or check out our blogs which are published weekly during the Summer and monthy during the Winter. Thanks for reading and following our work, until next time take care.

It’s been a busy Summer so far!

Swim Safe Team at Margate

I hope that have been able to enjoy the marvellous Summer that we have been having! The heatwave brings it’s own problems for our Lifeguards, Lifeboat Crews, HM Coastguard Rescue Teams and Community Safety Teams. They have been kept incredibly busy up and down the country being called out to a high number of people in need of assistance and also spreading the key safety messages. Some of the calls recently attended by our RNLI crews, lifeguards and Coastguard Teams have involved: tidal cut-offs, swimmers and kayackers in difficulty, weaver fish stings, yachts and fishing boats with machinery problems amongst others.  One of the vitally important projects that we have been helping to support is Swim Safe at Margate Main Sands, together with Swim Teachers and lifeguards. You can read more about this fantastic programme by checking out this link.

Reminding and Refreshing Beach visitors on Safety Tips

Our Team has been incredibly busy supporting a wide range of events across the area and also carrying out anumber of ‘pop-up’ engagement events on beaches to help share safety messaging.

L-R Coastguard Rescue Technician, Face2Face team & Community Safety at Broadstairs Water Gala

Margate Pride with the Face2Face Team

One of the incredible events that we were proud to support was Margate Pride. This is the first year that we have been able to attend and we were absolutely bowled over by the number of wonderful people we spoke with and how a large number had heard about our ‘Float Not Swim’ lifesaving technique through cinema and radio advertising. We are already looking forward to next years event!

The next event that we will attending is the National Kitesurfing Championship at Ramsgate on Saturday 18th August on the lower Promenade. So, if you are thinking of coming along to watch this awesome event, then why not pop over and come and say hello.

Future events:

Sunday 2nd September – Addington Street Revival Festival

Check out our Facebook page or Twitter to keep fully up-to-date on our future events.

More safety advice:

HM Coastguard Beach Safety

RNLI How to stay safe at the coast

How to stay safe on the beach!

Reminding and Refreshing Beach visitors on Safety Tips

Over the few weeks our team have been out and about on some of Thanet’s beaches speaking with beach visitors to remind and refresh them about how to stay safe at the beach. We’ve included a copy of the Beach Swim Safety Flags below for anyone that needs a reminder.

Beach Safety Flags

Our top eight top tips to keep you safe whilst at the beach:
  1.    When you arrive at the beach with your children go up to the Lifeguards and have a chat to find    out about local safety information such as the tides and local risk.
  2.    Take a photograph of your children to make it easier to describe them should they go missing.
  3.     Have a look around as you arrive at the beach for any local safety information such as tide cut-off information. Ask your children to identify with their local area which will help them find their way back to you after a walk along the beach.
  4.     When your children go into the sea, make sure that they go in pairs and both of them come out of the sea together or leave the beach together.
  5.     Have an agreed meet-up point should your group get separated.
  6.     Should one of the children in your party goes missing make sure that the rest of the group are supervised whilst you look for the other child. Try to stay calm, many children are found quickly after going missing.
  7.      Inform the Lifeguards and or Coastguard should your children goes missing. When you do locate them inform everyone involved in the search.
  8.      If you should get into difficulty in the water, float on your back and raise your arm to attract attention.

Have a great time whichever beach or coast that you are visiting.  Follow us on Twitter or Facebook for more top tips and to learn about our Community Safety work.

Ramsgate’s Inshore Lifeboat












Swim Safe arrives in Margate!

Swim Safe launched on Margate Main Sands

Some of your may come across Swim Safe before either via social media, the RNLI website perhaps or heard about it by the good old fashioned word of mouth? If not, then it is a really exciting free of charge swimming and water safety lessons delivered at mainly beaches and across the UK and Republic of Ireland by Swim England and the RNLI in partnership. We are so lucky to be holding a Swim Safe programme of lessons on Margate Main Sands this Summer!


The Swim Safe Team have delivered two of the sessions so far, both on a Friday and they have been massively popular with local families and also those from some distance away.  To be eligible children must be aged between 7-14 years and be able to swim 25 metres. I have received quite a few enquiries that the on-line booking system shows no slots available for any of the sessions. My advice is if you really want your child to attend, then attend one of the sessions by walking up and asking the staff whether their are any vacancies remaining for the day and whether they can join the session. Definitely worth ago!


So, if you are in the Margate area and want your child to learn some essential water safety techniques, then check out Swim Safe. All the feedback that we have so far received has been an overwhelming thumbs up from both children and parents.  Before I go, to enable you to enjoy your time at the coast this Summer even more please search for ‘RNLI Float Not Swim’ and learn this essential technique that actually saved 7 peoples lives last year.  Figures are from the RNLI.

Pictured are some of the awesome Swim Safe Team at Margate Main Sands Lifeguard hut

Check out our top 5 useful links for beach, water and coastal safety:

RNLI Float Not Swim

Coastguard Beach Safety

Royal Lifesaving Society (RLSS) – Water Safety on holiday

RLSS issues warning after temperatures hit 30 degrees

Swim England – Swim Safe website

Fantastic Coastal Safety Engagement Session At Gravesend Gurdwara

Community Safety Stand at Gravesend Gurdwara

On Sunday our team worked in partnership with the great Gravesend RNLI Community Safety Team holding a joint Coastal Safety/Respect The Water stall at the fabulous Guru Nak Darbar Gurdwara Gravesend  (Sikh Temple, Gurdwara means door to a new beginning). One of the objectives of the session was to revise and refresh the communities knowledge on our key safety messages: float not swim, calling for help whilst at the coast, tidal cut-off’s and beach safety amongst others ahead of the start of the school Summer holiday.  Through recent research a significant number of the Gravesend community enjoy days out and holidays down on the Kent coast.

Engagement with our communities is key to helping people get more out of their time at the coast and staying safer

We really enjoyed chatting to the Gurdwara worshippers and visitors, amongst the subjects that cropped up for discussion: the recent tidal cut-off’s at Botany Bay, the safest beach to visit in Thanet, how to avoid getting stuck in the mud on the Gravesend foreshore, becoming a lifeguard, beach safety and how to survive falling into water.

If you haven’t ever visited the Gravesend Gurdwara before then it is definitely worth a visit if you find yourself in the area and have time to spare. More info via the excellent Visit Kent website.

Thank you to our lovely hosts for making our teams feel very welcome!

Our Top 5 weblinks for staying safe whilst at the coast or on the River Thames

Gravesend RNLI Station

Float Not Swim – RNLI website

Beach and coast safety – HM Coastguard

River Thames Safety – Port of London authority

River Thames Conditions – Environmental Agency



Launch of Respect the Water campaign – Margate

South East region launch of Respect the Water – Margate RNLI Station

After week’s of careful planning and organising, the date Wednesday 23rd May, was soon upon us. This signalled the all important national launch of the RNLI’s Respect the Water campaign. I was fortunate to be able attend the South East region launch at Margate, which I had helped to plan and organise.  Respect the Water incase you haven’t heard of it, is the RNLI’s branding for it’s safety campaign, which uses the ‘float not swim’ principle amongst it’s main safety messages.  The ‘float not swim’ technique saved seven people’s lives in 2017 from drowning. These survivors stories can be found on the brand new Respect the Water website which is now live.

The Margate launch involved a detailed briefing delivered by Guy Addington (RNLI South East Community Safety Partner) to the whole host of key community partners, who will be instrumental in helping to spread the key safety messages.  The launch was also featured on Wednesday’s ITV Meridian’s evening news programme.

RNlI Community Safety Partner Guy Addington delivering his safety briefing

The partner agencies that were involved at the launch comprised: HM Coastguard Margate, Kent Fire & Rescue Service (Margate Fire Station), RNLI Lifeguards, RNLI Education Volunteers, Margate Harbour Master, Kent County Councillor Emma Dawson, Margate RNLI, Central Cars (local taxi firm), RNLI Community Safety Volunteers, the Margate Harbour Arm bar, Bus Cafe and Sun Deck. After the briefing and photo call, anumber of local Margate harbour businesses received throw bag training from a qualified RNLI instructor. This training now allows these businesses to deploy a throw bag to someone in difficulty in the water if it is safe to do so and also increased water safety awareness. If you work or run a business close to a harbour, river or sea then you maybe eligible to sign-up for free throw bag training. Find out more by following this link if you are close to the sea or close to the River Medway.

Thank you to everyone who attended and supported the launch event, your help in sharing the safety messages will help make the East Kent coast safer this Summer and is much appreciated.

Community Safety Volunteer being interviewed by a TV crew

How to survive cold water shock by Professor Mike Tipton is one of the messages that the RNLI is keen to deliver. Please watch and share, it just could save someone’s life.




High tempo joint life saving exercise with Coastguard, lifeguards & lifeboat

Joint working exercise

One week ago, on a Sunday morning, Thanet Lifeguard’s executed a high-tempo joint exercise inconjunction with the Margate Coastguard Rescue Team (CRT), Deal CRT and Margate Inshore Lifeboat (ILB) crew on one of Thanet’s popular beaches.  The exercise was to test each of the agencies involved in how they work collaboratively in a complex rescue situation and also to hone their own skillsets. The exercise was the brainchild of the one of the highly experienced and highly skilled Lifeguard Supervisors, who came up with the plan to test his own lifeguards before the start of the busy Summer Season and as well as combining other rescue partners. You may have read about or seen one of these exercises first hand, in the newspaper or on social media, as coastal emergency service rescue teams up and down the country prepare themselves for the forthcoming Summer season.


Coastguard Rescue Officers inaction

The scenairo quickly unfounded revealing that three people had been out climbing in some caves above the beach and fell causing injuries. These included varying from walking wounded, to one requiring full CPR with spinal pelvic and leg injuries. All three agencies worked extremely well together with cliff, water, casualty care and beach evacuation put into practise.

Acknowledgements to the RNLI Lifeguards and HM Coastguard Margate for allowing us to use the photograph’s.

Remember for all emergencies at the coast or sea call ‘999’ and ask for the Coastguard, every second counts.

Useful links

HM Coastguard Beach Safety Top Tips

RNLI Beach Safety

RNLI Respect the Water

Someone In Difficulty In the Water – HM Coastguard Video

More information on how Emergency Services train and work together under the Joint Emergency Services Inoperability Principles.