Thanet RNLI Community Safety

Walkers and Runners identified as high risk of accidental drowning year on year in UK

Getting out in the fresh air either enjoying a leisurely stroll, a longer hike or maybe a run is a fantastic way to get some exercise particularly during the lockdown period, to improve your mindfulness and spend time with friends or family. This blog is designed to raise awareness that 93 people who accidentally drowned during 2018 weren’t even taking part in water-based activity and were simply running or walking near water (this is the largest grouping of people who lost their lives).

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National Fire Chief’s Drowning Prevention Week

It’s the start of the National Fire Chief’s Annual Drowning Prevention week today (Monday 29th April). The campaign week is designed to highlight the risk of accidental drowning. Drowning is unfortunately amongst the leading causes of accidental death in the UK. As part of our on-going water safety and drowning preventative role we are teaming up with Fire and Rescue Service’s across the UK to help share key safety messages and advice to help make people aware of the risks and dangers when around water, what to do if they fall into water; and how to help someone who is in difficulty in the water.

Members of the Thanet RNLI Community Safety Team pictured with one of the duty fire crews at Ramsgate Fire Station recently on a water safety collaborative visit.

In 2017, 255 people accidentally drowned in UK; 100 people were found to have drugs or alcohol in their system.  In 50% of these accidental deaths people weren’t even taking part in water-based activities Figures also reveal that 106 people drowned whilst out walking or running (source National Water Safety Forum). Men also account for the greatest number of deaths from accidental drowning. 

Each day this week we will be sharing key drowning prevention advice. So, stay tuned for further posts on our social media channels using the #BeWaterAware. If you should hear or see a person or animal in difficulty in the water at the coast call ‘999’ ask for the Coastguard; if you are inland at a lake, river, canal or other area of water call ‘999’ ask for the Fire Service.


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.