Thanet RNLI Community Safety

Speedboat hits seawall!

On Thursday 12th July, at around 2.25pm HM Coastguard was alerted to an incident whereby two men had been thrown from a speedboat which then continued and hit the seawall at Minnis Bay, Margate. RNLI Lifeguards, Margate Inshore Lifeboat, Coastguard Rescue Team and Kent Police were called to the scene.  Lifeguards rescued two men from the water who had been wearing lifejackets, but not a killcord.

Above: Kill cord switch in action – there are numerous ones on the market
Tony Evans, HM Coastguard Maritime Operations Specialist said:  ‘These two men have had a very lucky escape.  Although they were wearing lifejackets, it would appear that they had a kill cord on the engine but neither of them were wearing it.  With a busy beach nearby, the circumstances could have been very different, or indeed tragic, if the vessel had not crashed into the wall.’
What is a killcord?
As the name suggests, is designed to kill your engine in the event of you going overboard. All owners and drivers of open powerboats, personal watercraft and RIBs should ensure that if their boat is fitted with a kill switch and kill cord, it is correctly used. On a powerboat the kill cord should be attached securely around the thigh and on a personal watercraft it should be attached to the buoyancy aid.
→Attach your kill cord before the engine is started, but certainly before the boat is put in gear where safe to do so. Stop the engine before transferring the kill cord to another driver.
→Always check your kill cord works at the start of each day or session and remember to replace it when there are signs of ageing, or wear and tear or it starts to lose spiral tension. When replacing kill cords, buy the manufacturers genuine replacement kill cords.
→Do not leave kill cords out in the elements. Extremes of temperature and UV light will harm the kill cord in the long term.
More helpful advice on how to stay safe whilst at the coast
HM Coastguard blog on the Margate speedboat incident
Acknowledgements to HM Coastguard and the RYA for the use of photo’s and technical advice.
The Beast From The East & Storm Emma


‘The Beast From The East’

You will have all, either witnessed first hand, read and or watched the effects of the very challenging weather we experienced throughout the UK, aka ‘the Beast From The East’ and Storm Emma. No doubt you may have read or heard about some of the water related incidents, rescues and the terrible drownings that this weather has led to.  One of the very sad incidents, was that of Charlie Pope, a 19 year-old Manchester University student who went missing in the early hours of the morning.  His body was tragically found in the Rochdale Canal days later. Our heartfelt condolences and prayers go out to Charlie’s family, friends and his fellow University students. An incident in Welling, Kent involved a 60 year old man who had fallen into the freezing lake.  Three bodies were also pulled from the River Clyde in less than 24 hours according to Glasgow’s Evening Times.

Have a look at the widely acclaimed Professor Mike Tipton’s (Portsmouth University) work he carried out for the RNLI on cold water shock. If highly trained Special Forces and Olympic athletes are struggling in extreme water temperatures, then everyone else is also going to struggle too. Take a look at the video below, it may give you food for throught:

Cold Water Shock and Swimming failure

There are a few points to bring out with regards some of these incidents :
  • 1) That the water whether you are at the coast, canal, river or pond is especially freezing at this time of the year. It has been found that around half of those that drown did not intend to end up in the water.  A slip, trip or fall could be fatal.
  • 2) If a person, a dog or other animal does fall into the water or through ice then don’t be tempted to self-rescue, call the emergency services ‘999’ (Fire Service if inland or UK Coastguard at the coast) and get the guys and girls with the specialist kit to carry out the rescue;
  • 3) If you go out for a few cheeky beers with your mates, by all means have a fantastic time, please don’t take that short-cut home, alone near to canals, rivers, coastal areas or ponds! Watch out for your mates, have a plan and make sure that they get home safe and sound. Follow the Royal Lifesaving Society Advice ‘Don’t Drink and Drown’.

Please share as much as possible the advice and video’s in this blog. If you can please sign Becky Ramsey’s on-line petition, it takes just two minutes to enter your name, postcode etc.

Thank you

Some useful links:

National Water Safety Forum

Drowning Prevention & Doing It For Dylan

I have devoted this blog to water safety and drowning prevention. The reasons behind this are: highlight the excellent work currently being undertaken by people who work tirelessely: Becky Ramsey (Doing It For Dylan campaign) Gary Willoughby (Twitter @munchbite) and Dawn Whittacker (East Sussex Chief Fire Officer CFOA Drowning Prevention Lead & Chair of RLSS Trustees) amongst others.

If you haven’t seen any of the really powerful video’s on YouTube yet take at look at this:

We need people to share these messages as far and wide as possible to help prevent further tragedies. If you haven’t read or heard about about Becky Ramsey’s tireless drowning prevention work, check out her Facebook page.

Becky Ramsey has also set-up an on-line petition to get Parliament to place water safety and drowning prevention on the national curriculum. Please sign the petition and share with everyone you know. If Becky’s petition receives 10,000 signatures it will get the Government to give a response. Follow this link to the petition.

Throwline boards

There is lots of great work being carried out up and down the country by individuals and organisations (including West Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Service) to increase water safety and improve drowning prevention. You may have noticed alongside rivers, canals and some parts of the coast throwline boards have been popping up. These are part of some fantastic collaborative initiatives to increase the accessibility and availability of quality lifesaving equipment in at risk areas. If you see one of these boards, have a read and make sure you know what to do in an emergency.

The throwline board initiative (as seen below) in Leeds, is dedicated to Megan Roberts who tragically died of drowning in 2014, by her Mother Jackie.


A link to this story can be found at West Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Service throws Leeds a Lifeline.

The RNLI are piloting throw line bag initiatives in several coastal areas and on the River Thames in London. Whereby riverside and harbourside businesses and bars can sign up to receive a free of charge, throw line bag to retain on their premises for use incase of someone entering the water close-by. The throw line bag initiative is dedicated to the memory of James Clark who drowned in the Thames at Kingston in 2005. Andrea Corrie, James’ Mother has been campaigning tirelessly for improve safety measures along the river Thames.

Please, please have those conversations with your family members (particularly, if you have boys/men aged 16-39 years old), but everyone, including friends and work colleagues about water safety and drowning prevention. You could save someone’s life by sharing a video or talking about what you have read here. We would very much like you to sign Becky’s petition if you possibly can, follow this link now.

Thank you for reading.

Useful links:

Doing it For Dylan – Becky Ramsey’s water safety campaign after her 13 year old son tragically died whilst swimming in open water in 2011

Drowning Prevention petition – Becky Ramsey

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to drown? Ladbible – Professor Mike Tipton

Know how to use a throw line bag – RNLI

Royal Lifesaving Society of UK

RNLI Complete Guide to Cold Water Shock

Coastsafe – Devon & Cornwall Police Initiative

UK Drowning Prevention Safety Forum