You will have no doubt be aware of the the governments recent announcement of their roadmap for the easing of the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown restrictions across England and the respective government announcements for Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales.
Paddle Boarding or SUP, has really caught on in recent years, seeing a real growth whether it’s on a solid paddleboard or an inflatable one. The SUP’ing is an excellent way to improve your fitness, including your core strength.
The Isle of Thanet coast has some of the most beautiful beaches and coastline in the UK which draws visitors at all times of the year (nineteen miles of coastline in fact). Exploring the coastline on foot is an excellent way of enjoying valuable time with family and friends, whilst grabbing fresh air, exercise and at the same time relaxing. Holiday times are great occasions to get out and enjoy the coast.
If you live close to the coast and are an avid follower of local coastal interest pages on social media you will may have seen the images and video’s showing the recent cliff collapses around the country. Very sadly, a cliff collapse in February caused the death of a dog in the west country.
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.
Whatever the emergency at sea or at the coast in the United Kingdom the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (commonly known as the HM Coastguard or MCA) will co-ordinate the incident and all the search and rescue (SAR) assets who are tasked.
We have seen Kayaking grow in popularity, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic, either out at the coast or on our fabulous inland water ways. There is nothing like getting out on the water in a kayak and it is absolutely great fun.
You can keep up to date with the Thanet RNLI Community Safety team on all the popular social networking sites including Twitter, Facebook and Instagram !
News stories and communications about our events and activities as well as safety advice are posted to these social networks virtually every day….so it is worth following us. Due to COVID-19 safety protocols our team have not been able to hold any public facing community engagements. Therefore we have tried our best to share as much as possible across our social media channels.
Metal detecting has been around for many years and is increasing in popularity. Whether you have a passion for history or treasure hunting it is a great way to keep fit, improve your wellbeing by being outside in the fresh air, discover history and meet new friends.
Have you ever wanted to be able to give immediate care to mammals when they are washed up onto the shore in your local area or who maybe in distress? Have you heard of the British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR)?
Our team are passionately committed to reducing drowning and sharing water safety messages to all communities far and wide. Working inconjunction with partner agenices and community groups the spread of the messages is much wider and more powerful. For example we enjoy working with local businesses, local charities, Kent Fire and Rescue Service, Kent Police, Kent Search and Rescue, Community Wardens, Community Pastors and HM Coastguard to promote water safety at events to name a few.
If you are a regular follower of our social media channels and preventative work you will have seen that we are actively involved in supporting other water safety organisations campaigns to help prevent and reduce drownings. Here is a run down on the campaigns we get involved in:
Respect the water is the RNLI water safety campaign which runs throughout the year, but is relaunched during May to highlight water safety risks, how to avoid them and gives advice on how to stay safe. More information on Respect the Water campaign
‘Be Beach Safe’
During Summer 2020, the RNLI in collaboration with the HM Coastguard ran the ‘Be Beach Safe’ campaign, designed to share key beach safety messages. Due to the travel restrictions imposed during lock-down the coast and beach saw a significant increase in visitor numbers. The ‘Be Beach Safe’ campaign was even more important during this period and continues to be shared far and wide.
Also, during the Summer of 2020, the RNLI initiated an Ambassador scheme, where organisations and businesses close to the coastline could sign-up and help share key water safety messages. This also included calling the Coastguard via ‘999’ for any coastal emergency and displaying posters in their premises or venues. During the 2020/21 the RNLI partnered with the HM Coastguard to share the Be Coast Safe safety message. This is increasingly important during the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown that this message is shared as widely as possible with an increase in the number of people taking their daily exercise at the coast.
What is the Don’t Drink and Drown campaign?
The Royal Lifesaving Society’s (RLSS) Don’t Drink and Drown campaign is run during September and December targeting University students and those enjoying their works Christmas parties. The Don’t Drink and Drown campaign highlights the dangers of walking home close to open water after a night out. More information on the Don’t Drink and Drown campaign
Are Runners and Walkers at risk of drowning?
In 2019, our team were involved in promoting the Royal Lifesaving Society (RLSS) Runners and Walkers water safety campaign at the beginning of November by holding a water safety stand at the fabulous Pegwell Bay Park Run. You may have come across the NFCC water safety campaigns called ‘Be Water Aware’. More information on this campaign
What is Swim Safe?
For the past two years we have helped raise funds and promote the Swim Safe programme which comprises free sea swimming and safety lessons for children aged 7-14 years held on Margate main sands. More information on Swim Safe
What is the Know Who To Call campaign?
Throughout the year we help promote the work of the HM Coastguard more specifically the ‘Know Who To call’ in a coastal emergency campaign. This is a vitally important message to get across as over half the people we speak with at events don’t know to call the Coastguard via ‘999’ for any emergency at the coast or on the River Thames.
‘Be Water Aware’ – who has pioneered this campaign?
The National Fire Chief’s Drowning Prevention Week campaign is supported annually by the team. This campaign aims to raise awareness of the risk of accidental drowning using Fire and Rescue Services’ across the UK. More information on the ‘Be Water Aware’ campaign.
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*.
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:
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
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?
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.
*RNLI analysis of WAID UK fatalities accidental and natural causes only 2011-15 coastal data set
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