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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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: email@example.com for an informal chat.
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.
- 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 .
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
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?
Stay tuned for Part 2 in this series of blogs showcasing Thanet’s lifesaving and lifeguarding clubs.
More useful references
Thanet Lifeguard Club