Thanet RNLI Community Safety

Celebrating Headset Hero’s – International Control Room Week 2020 – HM Coastguard Operation Rooms

‘International Control Room Week’ is all about celebrating and thanking those people who are at the end of a ‘999’ call.  From 19th to the 25th October 2020 the week is dedicated to celebrating the achievements of truly remarkable people who are at the end of the phone or radio when we need them, keeping us calm, reassuring us and updating us. They stay strong, supporting us through the most challenging times.

NMOC Coastguard RNLICommunitySafety
National Maritime Operation Centre (NMOC) HM Coastguard

HM Coastguard Operation’s Centre’s around the UK are staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Ready to take ‘999’ emergency calls or Mayday radio calls from someone who needs help at the coast, on the River Thames or at sea urgently.  There is no doubt it’s a highly challenging and demanding role.

Coastguard Operation’s room staff ensure that search and rescue assets such as coastguard rescue teams, helicopters, lifeboats and other blue light services are in the right place where they need to be, at the right time – helping and supporting as the emergency situation unfolds.

internationalcontrolroomweek heroswearheadsets coastguards margatecoastguard thanetlifeguards margatelifeboat ramsgatelifeboat bebeachsafe covid-19 lockdown
Thanet RNLI Community Safety Team visit to Dover Coastguard Operation’s Centre (prior to COVID-19) regulations.

This year is even more important than in previous years as the men and women based in the Coastguard Operation’s Room’s have continued to provide emergency capability right through out lock-down and continue to do so through the Corona Virus emergency.


To mark the celebration, APD Communications have also pledged to donate £1 to Mind the mental health charity every time #UnsungHeroes is used across social media and in the press during the 19th -25th October 2020. Mental Health has such a huge impact on the emergency services. With over 9 in 10 workers experiencing low mood, poor mental health and stress at some point whilst working for the emergency services. The challenging nature of the job, with its unique pressures puts staff at greater risk.

HMCoastguard Internatioalcontrolroomweek
Kaimes Beasley, controller Dover Coastguard Operations Centre – photo credit HM Coastguard

Please spare a thought for all the staff deployed in all control rooms providing essential communication, support and assistance to members of the public in times of need.   Just some of those control rooms include: Police, Fire and Rescue Service, Ambulance Service, Highways Agency, Maritime Control, Border Agency, Coastguard, RNLI, Prison Service, Public Utilities, Armed Forces, St John’s Ambulance, Red Cross to name a few.

Below is a short video clip showing how the HM Coastguard would take an emergency call and despatch search and rescue resources.  As a reminder if you hear or see an animal or person in difficulty in the water at the coast dial ‘999’ or ‘112’ and ask for the Coastguard.

For more information on the week, visit:  International Control Room Week


More useful links

Know who to call in a coastal emergency

What’s the difference between the Coastguard and RNLI?

APD Control Rooms Week


HM Coastguard

APD Communications

Kent Coastguard Rescue Officers mount marathon bike ride around Kent

Our awesome HM Coastguard colleagues are undertaking an epic cycle ride challenge when they are visiting many of the Kent HM Coastguard stations during 31st Aug-1st Sept. Why are they undertaking this marathon ride you may ask? One of their colleagues the late Herne Bay Station Officer Gordon Sinclair (pictured above) very sadly passed away earlier this year after twenty years dedicated service to the HM Coastguard.  The cycle ride is in memory to Gordon Sinclair and all the funds  raised will be in aid of the Coastguard Association, which is a charitable organisation that helps serving or retired Coastguard personnel in times of genuine hardship, povery or distress.

If you would like to make an electronic donation the link to the Go Fund Me page can be found here

If you are able to support this fundraising event in another way please private message the Margate Coastguard Team via their Facebook page

Some of the items that have been already donated to help refuel and replenish the cycle ride team on their journey

Stay tuned on either the Herne Bay or Margate Coastguard Rescue Teams respective Facebook pages for more updates on this excellent fundraiser.

More useful links:

HM Coastguard Herne Bay are recruiting – find out more


Lifejacket Clinic at Dover Open Marina Weekend proves a success

Dover Open Marina Weekend is a fantastic opportunity to have a detailed look around the workings of a busy marina as well as enjoy a tour of the Dover lifeboat. When we were invited by the Dover Lifeboat Coxswain James Clapham to hold a lifejacket clinic at this fantastic event we jumped at the chance.  Inaddition to supporting the Maritime Safety Week which showcased maritime safety good practise.

Running a lifejacket clinic is an invaluable way of helping the sailing community to keep safe by checking their lifejackets to ensure they work if they were needed and secondly to pass on some tips to help keep them in a good condition incase they are required to be deployed . The checks we carry out are not meant to replace a full service that a service agent or manufacturer would carry out which we recommend that you undertake on a yearly basis.

The RNLI have teamed up with the marine insurance company GJW Direct to support our lifejacket clinic’s nationally and are now a commercial partner.

During the lifejacket clinic our team checked forty five lifejackets with seventeen failing for a variety of reasons. These were out of date firing mechanisms, rusty or corroded gas cyclinders, decaying jackets which will have been left in damp conditions, already fired and missing cylinders.  We also noticed that anumber were missing crotch straps which are absolutely essential for the safe and effective deployment of the jacket if you ended up in the water.

A thoroughly enjoyable day chatting to visitors and passing on our key safety messages to help keep people safe whilst at the coast.  We would like to pass on our thanks to James Clapham (Coxswain) and the rest of the Dover Lifeboat Station for making us hugely welcome.

Our top 10 tips on how to keep your lifejacket serviceable

  1. Inspect the outside of the jacket for wear and tear. Take a detailed look at the cover for any damage, webbing, harnesses, crotch straps, sizing and fit
  2. Even if it is a jacket with an inspection window, undoe the lifejacket at the point next to the inflator.
  3. Check the gas cylinder is hand tight, or if it’s a bayonet type, is it firmly locked in position.
  4. If the lifejacket is new to you, remove the cylinder and check it has not been fired.
  5. Replace the cylinder if required.
  6. Look for the green coloured indicators on the trigger and if fitted, on the automatic firing system.
  7. Keep spare cyclinders and replacement parts for the automatic firing system on hand. So, that the jacket can be re-armed. Or, keep a spare jacket for each person onboard. The replacement parts are relatively inexpensive to purchase. Don’t forget jackets for your dog(s) if you take them on a voyage!
  8. Get the jacket serviced at the manufacturer’s recommended intervals.  This is highly recommended.
  9. Undertake a thorough inspection of each and every lifejacket at least once a year – more often if the lifejacket is used frequently.
  10. Conduct an inflation test of the bladder annually. Inflate the bladder through the oral inflation tube via a low pressure air pump or simply blowing into the tube. Leave inflated for at least 24 hours in a termperature stable environment to check the bladders integrity.

More useful links on lifejackets:

The RNLI’s complete guide to lifejackets

How to choose a lifejacket and maintain it – RNLI

Lifejackets Useless Unless Worn – Thanet RNLI CS

How to book a free RNLI lifejacket clinic

Dover Lifeboat Station

GJW Direct