Thanet RNLI Community Safety

Huge Rise In Lifeboat Call-Outs To Water Users Requiring Assistance Compared With 2019

RNLI Lifeboats have faced a summer like now other with statistics revealing a huge increase in the number of people (water users***) requiring assistance by local lifeboat crews compared to the year 2019.

Lifeboat stations see increase in call-outs 

Based on incident reports (provisional)** submitted by RNLI lifeboat stations around the UK and Ireland, there was a 64% increase in the number of recreational water users assisted by the RNLI.  After every emergency call-out an incident return has to be submitted by the station detailing what the incident was about, the location, action taken etc).

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RNLI Lifeguard Margate Beach – 2019: Photo credit: Thanet RNLI Community Safety Team
Lifeguards reported increase in beach visitor numbers

Lifeguards also reported seeing a significant increase in the number of visitors to beaches around the coast.  RNLI lifeguards working on two beaches in Thanet  carried out an unprecedented number of rescues -including 24 people rescued in a single day at Ramsgate Main Beach and carrying out a successful CPR on a six year old girl who had collapsed and stopped breathing at Botany Bay.

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The Lifeguards also rescued a man in his 50’s at Botany Bay who was out of his depth and being hit against the chalk sea stack to the west of the beach.

On Friday, 31st RNLI lifeguards Neil Morgan (member of our Community Safety Team & Ramsgate Lifeboat crew) and Chris Wilson, patrolling on Ramsgate Main Beach, had to rescue 24 people who were in danger of being swept out to sea by rip currents.

Those rescued included children, adults and the elderly. In one incident, lifeguard Neil Morgan had to dive into the water with his rescue tube after spotting two children who had been caught in a rip current and were being swept towards the harbour entrance. Neil and Chris also escorted a further six children to safety.

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In another incident lifeguards took to a rescue ATV (quad bike) to get close to a group of swimmers who were in danger and close to the harbour entrance and persuaded them to come to shore for their safety.

HM Coastguard reported the day as having the highest number of call-outs in four years.

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

The statistics include people who got into trouble whilst :

  • Bodyboarding
  • Using inflatables
  • Kayaking,
  • Canoeing,
  • Kitesurfing
  • Paddleboarding,
  • Rowing
  • Surfing
  • Swimming
  • Water-skiing,
  • Windsurfing
  • Dinghy sailing.

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Biggest Increase this Summer in incidents involving inflatables

In the South East of England which includes covering 31 lifeboat stations stretching from the Thames to Swanage, saw the biggest increase the summer 2020 (June to August) in incidents involving inflatables.

During 2019 lifeboat stations in the South East launched 20 times to people in difficulty with inflatables and 26 people were helped. In 2020 there were 37 launches and 89 people aided – a 242.3% increase.

 

The second biggest increase was lifeboat launches to waterside activities which includes:

  • Paddling
  • Beach combing
  • Playing games
  • Horse riding
  • Cycling

 

  • In 2019 RNLI lifeboats in the South East launched 10 times to these types of incidents and helped nine people, in 2020 there were 14 launches and 28 people helped – an increase of 211.1%.

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Paddle Boarding

The growing popularity of paddle boarding during 2020 is also reflected in the figures. In 2019 the South East’s lifeboats launched eight times and four paddle boarders were assisted. In 2020 the number of launches increased to 12 with 12 people also assisted by crews.

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Inflatables are not designed for the coast!

The South East RNLI Water Safety Lead Guy Addington, said “the figures highlighted the dangers inflatables can pose at the coast and urged people to leave them at home in the future:

“Inflatables can be great fun, but they are not designed for the beach as it’s easy to get swept out to sea,’ As these figures demonstrate, inflatables are one of the most common reasons our lifeboat crews are called to action during the summer months”.

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Off-Shore Winds

‘They are particularly dangerous when there are strong offshore winds and there were a number of incidents around the South East this summer where people, in some cases children, suddenly found themselves being swept hundreds of metres offshore. Were it not for our lifeboat crews responding so quickly some of these incidents could easily have resulted in a tragedy. The best place to enjoy inflatables is in an enclosed area such as a swimming pool”.

In one particular incident in August, volunteers from Poole Lifeboat saved the lives of a teenage girl and her Father who were spotted some distance off-shore in the water with an inflatable.

As the light faded, time was of the essence and with a police helicopter hovering overhead as a marker, the lifeboat was on the scene in 12 minutes and rescued the pair who by that time had become separated from their inflatable.  They were cold and distressed and had been in the water for 40 minutes.

On the same day the crew also rescued a seven-year-old girl spotted drifting out to sea on an inflatable lollipop and an 11-year-old on an inflatable dinghy.

 

Margate & Ramsgate Lifeboats are often called out incidents involving inflatables

Both Margate and Ramsgate lifeboats are also often called to incidents involving inflatables during the summer months, several of which turn out to be beach toys drifting out to sea.  Both stations were kept busy during lockdown 1.0 with some days seeing their respective crew pagers going off more than once in a 24 hour period.

‘This is the other big concern with inflatable beach toys,’ explained Guy. ‘Often lifeboat crews are launched to inflatables drifting out to sea because of fears there could be people in the water. Extensive searches are often carried out only to discover the toys have been blown off the beach. This could mean the lifeboat crew are unable to respond to other, perhaps more serious, incidents”.

“With Christmas just a month away we’d urge anyone considering buying their loved one an inflatable to put safety first and make it clear it’s not to be used on the coast,” he added.

The RNLI’s Head of Water Safety, Gareth Morrison, said: ‘Our volunteer crews have been on call throughout the pandemic. This year, they faced a summer like no other.

‘When lockdown restrictions eased, we saw people flock to the beaches to enjoy our coastlines instead of holidaying abroad. But that resulted in a huge number of people getting into difficulty around our coasts, with our lifesavers facing an incredibly busy summer.

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‘If you find yourself in trouble at the coast this winter, call ‘999’ and ask for the Coastguard.’

 

Personal protective Equipment – COVID-19

The RNLI has spent £1.2M on personal protective equipment this year to help keep its volunteers and lifeguards and the public safe during COVID-19, including almost 700,000 face masks, 2.4 million gloves and 4,700 litres of hand sanitiser.  Unfortunately, due to COVID-19 risk assessments lifeboat fundraising events and shops have had to be cancelled and or shut (including Ramsgate and Margate’s fantastic fundraising teams).

RNLI Lifeboat Crews Still On-Call

RNLI Lifeboat crew have worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic to keep people safe as lockdown restrictions eased and people flocked to the coast. The RNLI relies on the support of the public to continue saving lives – and that support is needed now more than ever. The charity has launched its Christmas Appeal.  Why not find out more how you can help the RNLI this Christmas. Thanks for reading and stay safe.

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Further useful Links

Margate Lifeboat

Ramsgate Lifeboat

Sign-up to our lifesaving e-newsletter

Why inflatables are not good for the seaside

 

 

Acknowledgements

Royal National Lifeboat Institution

HM Coastguard

Other information

**The complete statistics for lifeguards and lifeboats will be available in early 2021.

*** Waterside activities include paddling up to the knees, wading up to the chest, beach combing, cockle, mussel picking (not commercial) cycling, driving (or parked in vehicle) horse-riding, metal detecting, playing games (non-competitive), relaxing and rock pooling.

Thanet’s RNLI Community Safety Team are making waves with this year’s Royal Lifesaving Societies Drowning Prevention Week campaign

Thanet’s RNLI Community Safety Team are making waves with this year’s Royal Lifesaving Societies Drowning Prevention Week campaign

The Thanet RNLI Community Safety Team will be taking part in a UK and Ireland-wide effort, when it takes part in Drowning Prevention Week 2020, in a bid to help families stay water-safe during and after lockdown.

 

Due to the ongoing impact of COVID-19, we now know that the usual level of service provided by rescue and lifeguard services are not going to be possible in 2020. Personal water safety is more important than ever before, to save lives.

The Royal Life Saving Society UK (RLSS UK), fears that families will flock to beaches and inland water locations this summer, without considering the potential dangers, putting themselves and others at risk.

In a bid to ensure families in Thanet and visitors to the area know how to keep themselves and others safe our team will be supporting RLSS UK’s annual Drowning Prevention Week campaign, this year running from 12-19 June.

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RLSS UK launched the campaign seven years ago as a way of focusing the UK’s attention on the importance of water safety, during one focal week of activities. A wide range of free, downloadable resources have been produced to help supporters promote water safety through schools, leisure centres, swimming clubs, community ventures and businesses.

 

The Charity hopes that through the campaign, the UK and Ireland will see a reduction in the statistics that see approximately 700 people losing their lives to drowning every year – that’s one every 12 hours. Many more suffer injury, sometimes lifechanging, following a water related incident.

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Our team is proud to play its part in trying to reduce this figure, and ensuring there isn’t a rise in fatalities because of the current situation. Our team will be sharing images and content via their social media platforms throughout the campaign week.

Andy Mills (Thanet RNLI Community Safety) said: “It is so important to remind people to stay safe and take personal responsibility near water, especially during these unprecedent times. We are only too happy to be involved with the RLSS’ Drowning Prevention Week.

“Most people are surprised to learn that you are more likely to die from drowning in the UK, than you are from being hit by a car or in a domestic fire. We urge as many people as possible to take advantage of our on-line material and learn what could be potentially lifesaving skills”.

 

Other useful links

Royal Lifesaving Society – Drowning Prevention Campaign

RNLI Respect the Water

How to Float to Live

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Why inflatables are not good for the seaside!

Every Summer RNLI and HM Coastguard Rescue Teams are called out to people who have been swept out to sea on inflatables which are inherently not designed for the sea environment.  Recently there has been an increase in their popularity due to the men’s and ladies England football teams posing with unicorn inflatables at an indoor pool.

The RNLI’s safety advice if you do use them in the sea:

  • ensure children are closely supervised
  • keep near the shore
  • only use between the red and yellow beach flags
  • follow the lifeguard’s advice
  • do not take inflatables out in big waves
  • never use them when the orange windsock is flying, as this indicates offshore winds which will blow inflatables further out to sea
  • if you do get into difficulty, then stay with your inflatable as it will keep you above the water.

More useful safety links

Find your nearest lifeguarded beach

Inflatables safety advice – Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents

RLSS – water safety at the beach – top 10 safety tips

Acknowledgements to RNLI, RoSPA and RLSS

It’s Hot Out There – What To Do If You Get Into Difficulty!

Even over the Summer months, the temperature of the sea will remain around 10 – 14 degree’s, low enough to trigger ‘cold water shock’.  Our team are urging people if they get into difficulty in the water try to fight the urge to panic (thrash around etc) and float on your back until you get your breathing under control.  Watch this video now, it just could help save your life – please share.  #Floattolive #Respectthewater #BeWaterAware

It’s Hot Out There – RNLI – Float to Live Campaign

More useful links:

Find your nearest lifeguarded beach

Float to live campaign

Survivors Story – Evan’s Story

Beach Safety

Cold Water Shock – know the facts

Free swimming lessons at the coast – Swim Safe Margate

Inflatables advice

 

 

Inflatables aren’t designed for the beach!

With people flocking to the coast when the temperatures increase and weather improves the number of people being rescued from a wide range of inflatables increases such as unicorns, flamingo’s and inflatable boats.  Inflatables are not simply designed for the beach and it is easy to find yourself quickly swept out to sea.

The recent rescue of 5 year old girls at Minehead who had been swept one mile off shore

If you do choose to use an inflatable, the RNLI would like to remind people that:

  1.  They are only used near to the shore and between the red and yellow flags on a lifeguarded beach
  2.   Children are safely supervised at all times
  3.   Never take inflatables out in big waves
  4.   Never use them when the orange windsock is flying as this indicates an offshore wind which will  blow the inflatables out to sea
  5.   Whenever you take to the sea the RNLI recommends that you and your children wear a suitable lifejacket or buoyancy aid.  This will provide the necessary floatation should the inflatable suffer a puncture or similar.

One station in Hampshire in the Summer 2018 had to be called out to rescue four people from inflatables in trouble in just one day.

Find your nearest lifeguarded beach

How do the RNLI keep beaches safe

Find out how to stay safe at the coast

HM Coastguard inflatable safety advice

Acknowledgements to RNLI for the use of You Tube video and content