Tidal cut off is a significant cause of call outs for RNLI lifeboats and also to Coastguard Rescue Teams throughout the year. People are often unaware that they are in potential danger and are ill prepared.
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.
Many apologies for the delay in writing another blog post, but some of our team are key workers and have been pretty busy in their day job working to help protect the public from COVID-19.
We hope that everyone is keeping safe and well; and looking after your loved ones where possible! These continue to be challenging times, with everyone having to adapt to new ways of living and going about their daily business. It won’t have escaped your notice, but there have been some ingenius ways of coping with life whilst staying at home.
A plethora of community based support groups have sprung up, not to mention the growing popularity of virtual entertainment social media channels offering everything from cooking classes, children’s activities, schooling, fitness groups, dancing, pub quiz’s, drama and music sessions to name a few. The RNLI are running their own ‘Water Safety Wednesday for children each week via their Facebook page.
As you will be aware the RNLI announced that all their stations, shops and engagement activity will be suspended until further notice follwing advice from HM Government. This includes our drowning prevention work and water safety activity. Rest assured RNLI Crews, maintenance engineers, the supply team and HM Coastguard teams are continuing to provide an operational emergency service 24/7.
Duty Crew System – Lifeboat Station’s
I read this morning on one station’s social media page that they had introduced a ‘duty crew’ system: reducing the number of crew that respond to the pager launch request from the Coastguard so the risk of cross contaimination is reduced.
Simply, crews will be split into teams or ‘watches’ with the appropriate number of women/men with key skills: eg launch authority, coxswain, helmsmen, mechanic, navigator, tractor driver, or head launcher allocated to each team to provide the operational readiness. Other safety measures will have been introduced at other stations to help mitigate risks where possible, but ensuring the lifeboat(s) and crews are able to maintain their search and rescue capability.
Minimising the risk to yourself and family
In line with the Government’s guidance on minimising the risk to yourself, family and others the Coastguard have said that visits to the beach should only be undertaken by those who live close to them. If you do live close to coast please observe the government’s instructions which are available via the Public Health England site and maintain the 2 metre social distance if you meet anyone on your walk, run or cycle.
Pete Mizen, assistant director for HM Coastguard, said: “The rules are very simple. The risk of spreading coronavirus is huge and while you might be OK, the person you give it to may not.
“And if you get into trouble and have to call ‘999’ and ask for the Coastguard, you’re then putting frontline emergency responders at risk of Covid-19 too. At this time of the year the beaches aren’t lifeguarded which is a double risk to you and our emergency responders. Help us to help you.”
RNLI – Pausing Beach Lifeguard Patrols
You may also have read that the RNLI are “immediately pausing” lifeguard patrols at beaches, and other public organisations such as councils and tourist groups have also taken steps to try to deter people from visiting.
I am sure that you will all join our team in thanking all the key workers who are keeping the country going, protecting us, maintaining our emergency services and making sure we have got the essential supplies to keep everyone healthy and well. So, whichever organisation, health service, company, charity, volunteer group or agency you work or volunteer for thank you very much for everything you are doing!
Rest assured our team are still working to share water safety and drowning prevention information via our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram platforms. If you do hear or see an animal or person who is in difficulty in the water at the coast dial ‘999’ straight away and ask for the Coastguard.
Please stay safe and thank you very much for reading.
Other useful links (to help you keep safe if you live close to the coast)
Broadstairs Surf Life Saving Club (BSLSC) was founded in 2013 and is affiliated with the national organisation Surf Life Saving GB a charity of over 5,000 volunteers helping to make our beaches a safer and a more enjoyable place for everyone.
Regular Training Sessions
The club holds regular immersive training sessions on Viking Bay and other Thanet beaches. Pool sessions are also held during the winter months at local leisure centre’s. Why not check out the clubs training calendar to find out their next training night.
The club is all about learning and maintaining lifesaving skills and enjoying regular land and water based training on Thanet’s beautiful beaches and in the sea around the coastline. The club provides great opportunities to stay fit, meet new friends, compete in competitions, learn new lifesaving skills and also allow you to put something back into the community.
New Members Welcome!
New members from experienced lifeguards to complete beginners are very welcome and the club offers fitness and lifeguard skills training to a wide age range. The club is very friendly and has some of the most experienced and qualified instructors in the area.
Training in partnership with RNLI Lifeguard’s
The club provide’s lifeguard training in partnership with Surf Life Saving GB and also working closely with the Thanet RNLI Lifeguard Unit. They also aim to provide both aquatic and first aid support to the local community.
The club’s mission statement
To offer club members the opportunity to keep fit through Life Saving Sport, increasing skill levels and equipping members to deal with emergency situations
Offer enjoyable training and education to club members in surf lifesaving skills with links to nationally recognised awards and qualifications which can help lead to a occupation in lifeguarding.
National Vocational Beach Lifeguard Qualification (NVBLQ)
From time to time the club runs the National Vocational Beach Lifeguard Qualification (NVBLQ). The course is designed to provide the learner with an introduction to all elements of beach lifeguard theory, cardiopulmonary resucitation (CPR), first aid, pool and open water skills.
The course is physically demanding and requires swimming to set times and lifting casualities in simulated rescue scenairo’s. The NVBLQ comprises a variety of units and all must be successfully passed to attain the qualification.
Be 16 on the assessment day.
Be able to swim a measured distance of 200 metres in a pool of recommended length 25 metres, minimum 20 metres, within 5 minutes.
On enrolment, the candidate must be able to demonstrate, to the satisfaction of the Trainer, that by the end of the course they will be capable of achieving a swim time of 400m in under 8 minutes.
Units to be covered:
Basic Life Support
Pool Based Practical
Foundation Tube Rescuer
Foundation Ocean Board Rescuer
When the club runs it’s NVBLQ course, the timetable will usually run daily between 8am – 6pm (subject to change). The course will involve a mixutre of training in the sea, beach, pool and classroom.
Each candidate will receive further joining instructions and information once allocated a space on a course. Previous courses have been advertised via the club’s social media platforms and booking can be completed via Eventbrite. Successful com[pletion of the NVBLQ does not guarantee paid work with the RNLI Beach Lifeguard service, but it is one of the required qualifications to then be able to apply for a role within the RNLI. For more information on the next course drop the club an email: firstname.lastname@example.org
We would like to wish all members of the Broadstairs Lifesaving Club all the best for the forthcoming season of training, competitions and lifeguard courses and we hope to see you on the beach in the near future.
Our Community Safety Team held a mobile stand at Dumpton Gap, near Broadstairs on March 1st aimed at giving safety advice to dog walkers. Weather for the event marked a complete turnaround to previous weekends where the country had faced several major storms. So a combination of a beautiful sunny morning and lower winds that many dog walkers took advantage of the conditions and the stunning coastline that Thanet has to offer.
Our stand was carried out by Thanet RNLI Community Safety Advisers, John Homer and Ian Lockyer. They had good in-depth conversations with just over 300 people, mainly concentrating on dog walkers. This number also included walkers and runners. Advice included what to do if an owner was cut off from their dog along the coast as well as advice on local tidal cut off points.
One of the things that the team noticed was that nearly all the local dog walkers were aware of the local cut off points and also used tidal apps and almanacs.
Every member of the public that the team spoke to were very positive about the advice given and favourable to everything the RNLI does. Even the stand proved popular with the dogs with several marking their territory on the panels.
Overall a fantastic, positive morning with some good advice given.
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.
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.
Pictured at last years fabulous Walmer Lifeboat Station Open day, Dave (left) and Joel (right) helping to run a lifejacket clinic
Volunteers’ Week is celebrated each year to say thank you and celebrate the value that volunteers bring to communities across the UK. We highlighted members of our team on social media, the role they play and the value that they bring to helping to prevent drownings at the coast.
Neil (our team throw bag trainer & member of Ramsgate Lifeboat Crew) pictured above
Four members of the team pictured during a team briefing session
Great to see the sun out this weekend. Hope you are having a great time! If you are visiting the beach please take a look at the five top tips above to help keep you children safe. The following will also help you and your family/friends have a safe time:
Aim to head for a lifeguarded beach
Know the meaning of the beach flags and heed their warnings
Speak to lifeguards for local knowledge
We hope you have a fabulous time whatever you are up to. If you should see or hear an animal or person in difficulty in the water or at the coast dial ‘999’ or ‘112’ straightaway and ask for the Coastguard every second counts.
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