The RNLI (Royal National Lifeboat Institution) relies on help and commitment from members of the public in numerous ways: donating money, giving up their free time to volunteer in souvenir shops, fundraising projects, crewing lifeboats, lifeboat launch teams, station visit officers, water safety and educational roles; or lifeboat Launch Authorities.
This year the campaign is running from 2-8 December, which was launched in 2014 following a string of tragic drownings of young people. Research indicated that around a quarter of all adult drowning victims have alcohol in their bloodstream and RLSS UK are keen to prevent more tragedies by providing a strategic approach in hot spot areas. Kent has been ranked in the top 3 counties in the UK for drink and drug releated drownings. This years campaign centre’s around looking after your mates on a night out using the social media #BeAMate. If you haven’t already seen the new video to accompany this years campaign why not take a look (above).
This is the second year running that the Don’t Drink and Drown campaign has been run in Thanet and this year we were very fortunate to be joined by the wholetime crew from Ramsgate Fire Station (Kent Fire and Rescue Service) and by Alex from Heart FM radio station. We also welcomed Deborah Hunt the RLSS Vice President and her officials from the Kent branch.
The evening comprised of all the respective teams and agencies meeting at Ramsgate Lifeboat Station for a briefing. Then heading to the Royal Victoria Pavillion (Wetherspoons) on Ramsgate Harbour where a multi-agency photograph was captured and then teams split up, with one team basing themselves in the foyer at Whetherspoons to chat to people entering and leaving the venue.
Two further teams deployed on foot into Ramsgate town visiting bars, clubs, restaurants and fast foot outlets chatting to customers, bar staff, door security teams and taxi drivers about how to stay safe on a night out handing out florescent wrist bands, beer mats and the very attractive bar runners all carrying the #DontDrinkAndDrown message. Taxi drivers, bar staff and venue security teams are all key in passing on the drowning prevention message as they have interactions with customers at the start and end of their evenings.
We are very grateful to all the people we spoke with on the night and we are particularly indebted to the businesses who gave up their time to chat and those who displayed the Don’t Drink and Drown merchandise in their venues:
A huge thank you to all the agencies and groups who freely gave up their Thursday evening to support this crucially important campaign. Thanks also go to the Ramsgate Lifeboat Coxswain Ian Cannon and the Operation’s Manager Tony Wylie for allowing us to use their crew room to hold the briefing.
The Thanet RNLI Community Safety Team along with the Street Pastors and Thanet Lifeguard Club will be out again on Friday evening in Margate helping to share the Don’t Drink and Drown message. If you are out and about in Margate then why not pop over and say hello to our friendly teams.
Once again this year our team are supporting the Royal Life Saving Society UK’s national Don’t Drink and Drown campaign, this year running from 2-8 December.
On Thursday 5th and Friday 6th December, we along with teams from RLSS UK, Kent Fire and Rescue Service, Kent Police, HM Coastguard Margate and the Community Pastors will be out and about talking to bar staff, venue security, taxi drivers and members of the public about keeping people safe whilst under the influence. Kent was ranked in the top three counties for drink and drug related drownings.
We will also be sharing water safety advice via our social media channels daily as well as the RLSS UK’s brand-new film via social media which shows how easily a fun night out can turn into tragedy, and how staying with your friends can make all the difference.
Latest statistics revealed 53 people have accidentally drowned in Kent over the last five years and 32% of these (17) were found to have had alcohol and/or drugs in their system, making it the 2nd highest county for drownings linked to intoxication.
Nationally there were 1,4581 accidental drowning deaths in the UK between 2014-2018 and more than 30% of the victims had alcohol and/or drugs in their bloodstream*. Many of them drowned because they walked home alone and fell in the water.
Hannah Wiggins-Bettles, RLSS UK Community Drowning Prevention Coordinator for the Kent area, said: “It’s a sad truth that the number of drownings increase in the winter period, more often than not because of intoxication.
“Families, friends and whole communities are left devastated every year because someone walks home alone whilst under the influence and falls into the water.
We’re urging people to stay together on a night out. Make sure their friends get home safe and don’t let them walk anywhere, especially near water, alone.”
Kent Fire and Rescue Service Area Manager for Customer Safety, Colin King, said: “It only takes a small amount of alcohol to impact your ability to save yourself in water. Even strong swimmers with no alcohol in their system could struggle if they fell into a river, due to underwater currents and the effects of cold water shock, which includes involuntary inhalation and can result in drowning. So if you fall in after just a drink or two, you’re likely to drown because your reaction times are reduced, instincts are skewed and coordination is impacted. Have fun this Christmas, but please take care and think before you drink near water.”
Thanet RNLI Community Safety Officer Andy Mills said: “We are happy to support this critically important campaign and hope that everyone stays safe.”
The Don’t Drink and Drown campaign, this year running from 2 to 8 December, was launched in 2014 following a string of tragic drownings of young people. RLSS UK was keen to prevent more tragedies, by targeting at risk groups in hot spot areas, at particular points in the year where alcohol related drowning incidences increase – September (at the start of the new university term) and December (during the festive period).
As part of the campaign, organisations up and down the country promote water safety messaging and run awareness activities urging revellers to take care near water whilst under the influence of alcohol and/or.
Stay Safe this Christmas:
Don’t walk home near water, you might fall in
Look out for your friends, make sure they get home safely
Don’t enter the water if you have been drinking
Alcohol seriously affects your ability to get yourself out of trouble
For more information on RLSS UK’s Don’t Drink and Drown campaign visit www.rlss.org.uk, follow the campaign on #DontDrinkandDrown, or call 0300 3230 096
Stats taken from National Water Safety Forum Water Incident Database (WAID) of which RLSS UK is a member. Data is used from 2014-2018, including accidental and natural cause records only. Adults aged 18 years+. Alcohol records are suspected or confirmed deceased, based upon Coroners and emergency service records, court records.
Aumber of our team enjoyed a great lifejacket familarisation session this evening (Thursday 27th Sept). Not only is it vital to refresh and revise knowledge about key lifesaving equipment, but there is always new developments to keep abreast of. One of the items which the team discussed was the successful rescue of a casualty off Dover who was wearing a lifejacket and a strobe light which was picked up by the HM Coastguard helicopter. More information on the rescue involving RNLI and HM Coastguard teams
The rescue footage is shown below in the twitter link
Thank you to everyone who attended. Our next free lifejacket clinic is taking place on Sat 12th October at Margate Lifeboat Station.
Lifejackets. They're called lifesaving for a reason. It's why this man was found by our Coastguard helicopter – look at that tiny light flashing in the midst of a stormy sea. As the crew said: 'Without that light, it's doubtful we would have found him. It saved his life.' pic.twitter.com/AAtGSgDU2o
Recently our team have carried out their Ramsgate Harbour ‘walk the pontoons’ lifesaving intervention tactic. Whereby team members chat to boat owners and undertake checks on their lifejackets free of charge. Regularly our team found that lifejacket firing mechanisms are out of date. One routine check earlier this year revealed that the firing mechanism had already been fired in a jacket, but the owner had been told by a friend that it was fit for purpose and would work.
Lifejacket firing mechanism with date stamp
When was the last time you checked the firing mechanism on your lifejacket? Were you aware that they have a replacement date stamped on them? Do you know how to check this date?
Hammar automatic inflation system
Why not contact us for a FREE lifejacket check and give yourself and your crew the peace of mind that if you end up in the water your lifejacket (if worn) could save your life. Please send us a private message with your contact details on our Facebook page or email Andrew_Mills@rnli.org.uk and let our team do the rest. The checks and advice we give you will not cost anything and we also have anumber of free booklets which will help you stay safe on the water.
Halkey-Roberts Bobbin (out of date)
Remember: Lifejackets have no use stored in a bag. Stick one on before it is too late. Useless unless worn!
Please note: The checks that our team carries out are not meant to replace the recommended servicing by a qualified lifejacket service agent or manufacturer.
Lifejacket clinic underway at the Royal Temple Yacht Club
Monday 27th May marks the start of the National Boat Fire Safety Week. The aim of this week is to raise awareness of how boaters on both coastal and inland waterways can prevent fire and carbon monoxide incidents and how to plan to react if an incident occur. Many fires and carbon monoxide incidents happen as a result of human error, poor installation of equipment/appliances and on occasion, dangerous practices by boaters.
This is campaign is also backed by the National Fire Chief’s Council and is actively supported by our team. Recently we undertook to ‘walk the pontoons’ at Ramsgate Harbour chatting to boat owners about safety including fire safety onboard their vessel. During this highly important campaign we will be posting some boat fire safety tips on our social media channels.
As part of the re-launch of the RNLI’s Respect the Water drowning prevention campaign our team visited Margate Main Sands on Saturday morning to chat to beach goers . It also signalled the return of the Lifeguard’s patrolling Thanet’s beaches. This was a glorious morning spent refreshing and reminding people about our key safety messages. One of the key messages that we continue to reinforce is that if you should see someone or an animal who appears to be in difficulty in the water, fight your instincts to go in after them and instead call ‘999’ and ask for the Coastguard.
While Summer air temperatures may be warm, UK and Irish waters rarely exceed 15C, making them cold enough year-round to trigger cold water shock, which causes the instinctive reaction to gasp and swim hard, which can quickly lead to drowning.
Our Community Safety Team briefing a coach party at Margate
With around half the coastal deaths each year being people who accidentally slip or fall into the water, the RNLI’s second piece of key advice: If you fall into cold water, fight your instincts to swim hard and thrash about. Instead, float for 60–90 seconds until the effects of cold water shock pass and you can catch your breath before then swimming to safety or calling for help. Find out how to Float to Live by watching Evan’s Story below.
Anyone planning a trip to the coast is advised by the RNLI :
Check the tides before embarking on the trip
Choose a lifeguarded beach and speak with the lifeguard on arrival to find out about local tide times and rips
Swim between the red and yellow flags, which is the area most closely monitored by the lifeguards
If visiting the beach with your children, take a picture of what they are wearing when you arrive, which will make it easier to locate them if they go missing
Establish a meeting point incase you get separated
If a child does goes missing, make sure the remainder of the children in your party are supervised and calmly search the area where they were last seen
Inform the Lifeguards and or Police that the child is missing
Communicate to everyone involved in the search when the child is located
Over two consecutive evenings at both Ramsgate and Margate Harbours the teams engaged with two hundred people effectively sharing the key safety message of don’t walk home alone close to water after a night out, look after your friends so that they get home safely, don’t enter the water if you have been drinking; and alcohol seriously affects your ability to get yourself out of trouble if you have been drinking.
On the lead-up to the Don’t Drink and Drown week I was fortunate enough to be interviewed on Thanet’s local charity radio station Academy FM about the importance of the campaign as Kent is the 2nd highest risk in the UK with regards accidental drownings (54 people died over the past 5 years 15 of those had alcohol in their system, statistics from National Water Forum Water Incident Database).
So, that’s it folks thanks for reading our blog and for following our work. We will be back in January to share with you about the work of our Comunity Safety and rest assured we will have lots of exciting projects to share with you. Happy New Year!
Strictly Necessary Cookies
Strictly Necessary Cookie should be enabled at all times so that we can save your preferences for cookie settings.
If you disable this cookie, we will not be able to save your preferences. This means that every time you visit this website you will need to enable or disable cookies again.