Thanet RNLI Community Safety

Lifeboat Community Safety Team Help Beach Goers Avoid Tidal Cut-Off’s In Thanet

On Saturday (19th September) our Lifeboat Community Safety Team deployed using their Incident Prevention Engagement tactic to Thanet’s beaches due to the unusually high ‘spring’ tides over the weekend.  These tides are caused by lunar activity, such tides ‘spring’ forth with the greatest difference between their high and low points – meaning it’s easier to get caught out and cut off.   Coupled with the forecast of high winds and a relatively warm day there was a significant chance of people getting cut off by the tide.

 

Arriving on Botany Bay it was apparent that the beach was proving a popular Saturday retreat with a large number of people enjoying the mild late September temperatures.   Whilst chatting (socially distanced of course) with some of the visitors to the beach it was apparent that they weren’t aware of the dangers of the incoming high ‘spring’ tide, the tidal cut-off ‘hotspots’ ie Botany Bay, Kingsgate, Stone bay and environs; and Dumpton Gap. As well as the need to move around further up the beach to safety.

Whilst chatting to the lovely beach visitors our team covered the following safety advice:

  • Check the tide times and weather before setting out
  • Carry a ‘calling for help’ device ie fully charged mobile phone or VHF radio in a water proof case if possible so you can call for help if you get into difficulty
  • Be aware of your surroundings at all times
  • Read and follow local safety advice displayed at the entrance to beaches
  • If you are going to take a swim always take a friend or family member follow the Water Safety Code
  • Not to enter the water if you are cut-off by the tide, but to shout for help
  • If you do end up in the water, float on your back until you get your breath back
  • In all coastal emergencies dial ‘999’ ask for the Coastguard

The team spoke to 55 people in total who were all very appreciative of the advice and guidance.  A group who were using an inflatable in the poor sea conditions were also spoken with and advised strongly against using the inflatable, who took onboard the advice and removed it to the safety of the beach.

Our team learnt later on in the afternoon that Margate Coastguard Rescue Team, Rescue Helicopter and Margate Lifeboat were tasked to a person possibly in difficulty in the water at Botany Bay.  Thankfully the person had come out of the water and was ok.

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John Homer (RNLI Community Safety Advisor) said “If you are visiting the coastline this weekend our advice is always to check out the tide times and weather before you set out.  We want you to have a great time, but taking onboard some advice could help save your life and help stop you getting into difficulty. We would like to thank everyone who spared a few minutes to speak with our team on Saturday and we hope you enjoyed your time at the coast”.

Useful links

How to check the tide times

Sign-up up to our newsletter to keep you updated on our water safety and drowning prevention activity

Can I suffer from cold water shock?

Find out how a 10-year old boy called Ravi used ‘Float to Live’ to save his life at Skegness

 

Acknowledgements

Royal National Lifeboat Institution

HM Coastguard

Margate RNLI LPO

How To Make The Most Of the Last Weekend of Beach Lifeguard Cover In Thanet

This Sunday (6th September) marks the end of RNLI lifeguard cover across Thanet beaches. But, there are more than 100 beaches which will still have patrols, some for longer than during a ‘normal’ year.

 

Our Community Safety Team want everyone to enjoy the beach and coast, but here’s a quick reminder of those safety tips which could help save you and your family/friends from getting into trouble in the water:

  1.   Whenever possible swim at a lifeguarded beach
  2.   Always read and pay attention to the advice displayed at the entrance to the beach
  3.   When visiting a lifeguarded beach locate the yellow and red flags and swim between them
  4.   Always swim with a friend
  5.   If you get into trouble, stick your hand in the air and shout for help. Float on your back until you get your breath back.  Find more out about the RNLI’s Float to Live technique
  6.   If you see someone in difficulty, don’t attempt a rescue. Tell a lifeguard, or, if you can’t see a  lifeguard, call ‘999’ or ‘112’ and ask for the coastguard.
  7. Please adhere to your government’s safety guidelines regarding COVID-19 and respect social distancing at all times. Please consider whether you should travel to a beach and remember to follow guidelines regarding travelling only with your household.
  8. Leave inflatables at home and keep them for the swimming pool.  Lifeboat and HM Coastguard call-outs this year have significantly risen due to people taking inflatables into the sea and getting into difficulty.
Covid-19 Lockdown Margatemainsands Margate Lifeboat In shorelifeboat Lifeguards Thanet EastKent Sandybeaches RNLI RNLICommunitysafetyteam RNLIWatersafety Bebeachsafe Respectthewater
Margate Main Sands – lifeguarded beach

Here is a list of the beaches that will be covered in Thanet until Sunday (6th September)(taken from the RNLI website):

Botany Bay

10:00-1800hrs

Post Code: CT10 3LG

OS Grid Ref: TR 3915 7117

Joss Bay

10:00-1800hrs

PostCode: CT10 3PG

OS Grid Ref: TR 3992 7017

Stone Bay

10:00-1800hrs

Postcode: CT10 1ED

OS Grid Ref: TR 3992 6869

Broadstairs (Viking Bay)

10:00-1800hrs

Postcode: CT10 1NB

OS Grid Ref: TR 3990 6768

 

Ramsgate Main Beach

10:00-1800hrs

Post Code: CT11 8JD

OS Grid Ref: TR 3875 6490

RNLIcommunitysafety RNLIwatersafety RNLIseasafety Respectthewater Thanetlifeguards RLSS margatelifeboat ramsgatelifeboat

Margate Main Beach

10:00-1800hrs

Postcode: CT9 1XP

OS Grid Ref: TR 3506 7079

Minnis Bay

10:00-1800hrs

Postcode: CT7 9QR

OS Grid Ref: TR 2871 6971

Have a safe and enjoyable time at the beach! If you are into your social media please share #BeBeachSafe to help spread our safety messages as wide as possible. Thanks for reading!

Further useful references:

Margate Lifeboat Station

Ramsgate Lifeboat Station

How to become an RNLI Ambassador

Sign up to our newsletter? 

Be Beach Safe

Lifeboat Community Safety Team Returns Back To Saving Lives At Sea At Dumpton Gap

On Thursday evening (13th August 2020) our RNLI Community Safety Team were back out in action at Dumpton Gap after gaining permission from the RNLI to re-commence operational duties once again.

Following the suspension of all water safety and drowning prevention operational activity imposed due to COVID-19 the team have been unable to deploy to help save lives at sea by holding water safety engagement stands, deliver talks to schools and community groups; undertake Advice on Board sessions; and carry out lifejacket clinic’s.

 

However, after gaining permission on Thursday morning from RNLI HQ, the team quickly took the initiative and formulated a plan to deploy operationally during the early evening at Dumpton Gap which is a tidal cut-off point and very popular with dog walkers and other beach users.

John Homer (Thanet RNLI Community Safety Advisor) said “It was great to get out and about at Dumpton Gap to talk to beach users about water safety on Thursday evening.  The number of calls that the RNLI and Coastguard have received has significantly increased this Summer due to more people taking ‘Stay vacations’ and we are very pleased that we are now able to help share the key safety messages again to beach users to help save lives at sea. Our plea is to keep inflatable toys for the pool and not bring them to the seaside as they can be extremely dangerous as we have seen recently along the coast”.

inflatables DPW Royallifesavingsociety Respectthewater RNLICommunitysafety RNLIwatersafety RNLIseasafety Thanetlifeguards beachsafety margatelifeboat Ramsgatelifeboat

If you do decide to bring an inflatable to the coast please follow this advice:

  • children should be supervised at all times by an adult
  • inflatables should be kept close to the shoreline
  • inflatables should only be used on a lifeguarded beach between the yellow and red flags
  • never use an inflatable in big waves
  • never use an inflatable when the orange windsock is flying as this indicates and off-shore wind that will blow the inflatable out to sea
  • always follow the advice of a lifeguard
  • whenever you take to the sea we recommend that you and your children wear a suitable buoyancy aid or lifejacket.  This will provide the necessary floation should the inflatable suffer a puncture or similar
dogsonice Royallifesavingsociety Fireandrescueservice bewateraware
One of the lovely doggie’s that stopped by to say hello to the team!

During the Beach Safety Deployment the team spoke with thirty members of the public about a wide range of water safety advice including using inflatables at the seaside, how to ‘Float to Live’, Coastal Dog Safe, Paddle Boarding, lifejackets and Tidal Cut-Off’s.

 

We would like to thank everyone who stopped by to chat to us at Dumpton Gap on Thursday evening.

Our team now looks forward to deploying again to help share the water safety messages to the Thanet Community and visitors to the coast.

coastguard watersafety seasaafety communitysafetyrnli

Other useful links

How to Float to Live

Inflatables aren’t designed for the beach

Find out where your nearest lifeguarded beach is?

HM Coastguard Advice on Inflatables

How to enjoy a fabulous and safe time at the coast our ultimate guide

Inflatable balloon sparks Coastguard and Lifeboat call-out in Margate Lido

On Monday (16th September) HM Coastguard Margate were tasked by the UK Coastguard along with RNLI Margate Inshore Lifeboat to reports of a person in the water by the Lido, Cliftonville. Arriving on scene Coastguard officers spotted an object in the water and once the lifeboat arrived it was quickly established that the object was an inflatable balloon possibly accompanied by a seal.


The balloon was removed from the water and taken back to the lifeboat, boat house.
The Deputy Station Officer for Margate Coastguard said “we cannot stress enough how bad these can be when they make it into the environment! Not only are they a danger to local wildlife but they can also cause issues for the emergency services. We will always attend reports of people in trouble but this could distract us from potential real life rescues. Please enjoy them but please do not let them off by the sea. Dispose of them sensibly when you have finished with them”.

Useful links:

HM Coastguard Margate Facebook page

RNLI Margate Facebook page

Know who to call for a coastal emergency – Thanet RNLI Community Safety

Acknowledgments:

HM Coastguard Margate

Broadstairs Water Gala resounding success

Broadstairs Water Gala is such a magnificent event showcasing everything that is great about the British seaside including Punch and Judy, Teddy Bear Picnic, Sea Shanties, Walkabout characters to name a few.  The programme of events is truly fantastic and is testamont to the hardwork and dedication of the volunteers and the organisations that help support the event year in year out.  Since the 1970’s Ramsgate Lifeboats have also attended the event and the tradition has continued ever since.

Our Community Safety Team are always very happy to support community events and the Water Gala is no exception. We were also joined by the great fundraising team who raise much needed funds to help keep the RNLI carrying out it’s lifesaving work, the Education Team and Face 2 Face team.  Both the Inshore and All Weather Lifeboats also moored up on the harbour, but unfortunately were unable to show visitors around the boat due to the sea being too rough.

Ramsgate Mayor Raushan Ara (centre) pictured with John Homer (left) and Ian Lockyer (right), beside our Community Safety Stand Water Gala Day

What was really interesting to note that the majority of young people we chatted to during the day had heard about the RNLI’s Float to Live lifesaving concept (float on your back if you fall into the water unexpectedly or get into difficulty).  This was very poignant as two young people who had been swept out to sea on an inflatable earlier in the week off Foreness Point who had been rescued by lifeboat and lifeguards. The young people had been told about the ‘Float to Live’ drill only a couple of days before by one of the RNLI Face 2 Face teams and remembered it. This was really great to hear that the ‘Float to Live’ concept was used in a lifesaving situation by these young people.

Our Safety Selfie frame was put to good use with the Ramsgate RNLI Press Officer Karen Cox and the Ramsgate Mayor Raushan Ara.

A thoroughly valuable day supporting the magnificent Water Gala and at the same time sharing the key safety messages which will help keep the community and visitors safe at the coast.

Picture credit: Karen Cox – RNLI Ramsgate Press Officer (All Weather Lifeboat)

Other useful links:

How to book Swim Safe – free swiming lessons at Margate main sands

How to float to live

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

The Water Savvy Day – Water Safety At Bewl Water

The Water Savvy Day is held yearly at Bewl Water, Lamberhurst, Kent. It is organised jointly by Kent Fire and Rescue Service; and East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service. The aim of this free fun day is to learn about how to stay safe around water.  Our team thoroughly enjoyed working with the Gravesend Community Safety team on the day to share key safety messages about how to stay safe at the beach and coast.  Some these will be mentioned later on.

Leanne McMahon, Group Manager for Community Safety at Kent Fire and Rescue Service, says about the day: “Our Water Savvy Fun Day is a fun day out for all the family, providing a rare glimpse into the fire services’ water rescue capabilities, and an opportunity to learn really important lifesaving skills.  “Water safety is really important to us, and we are working hard to educate residents and visitors to the area about the dangers and how to stay safe while still enjoying being in and around water.”

 

One of our Gravesend colleagues chatting to children during the Water Savvy Day

The day was jam packed with plenty of activities and demonstrations including: the inter Fire and Rescue Service water rescue competition which this year was won narrowly by East Sussex; and Kent Police’s drone was put through it’s operational paces. Crowds were also treated to a display by the Police’s Marine and Diving Unit,  as well as the fabulous Newfoundland Rescue Dogs, hands-on practical CPR skills with the Royal Lifesaving Soiety, further demonstrations from the Kent Lowland Search and Rescue team, Seaford Lifeguards and Sussex Flood Unit.

 

Fire & Rescue Service water rescue competition

Our RNLI Community Safety stand proved very popular with children and adults like.  Some of the key messages we highlighted included:

Follow the Water Safety Code 

  • Stop & Think (Look for dangers and always read the signs)
  • Stay together – never swim alone, always go with friends or family
  • Call ‘999’ or ‘112’ ask for the Coastguard (at the coast) Fire Service (rivers, canals & inland waterways) and shout for help
  • If you do fall into the water unexpectedly ‘Float on your back and try to hold onto something that floats,

 

The Water Savvy Day is such a great day to learn more about water safety, but also enjoy the wonderful Bewl Water. Keep an eye out for future Water Savvy Day events as they are great fun for all the family.

One of the fabulous Newfoundland dogs enjoying a rest after a rescue demo

More useful links:

Royal Lifesaving Society – top tips on drowning prevention

Learn how to Float to Live

Find the nearest lifeguarded beach

Learn more about free swim lessons

Book free swimming lessons in the sea – Swim Safe

Bewl Water

HM Coastguard – Beach Safety

Walmer Lifeboat Station Open Day

A member of the Deal HM Coastguard Team kitted ready to deploy on the joint RNLI and Coastguard water rescue exercise at Walmer RNLI Station Open Day

Last weekend saw our team out and about covering anumber of events.  On Saturday morning, three of the team made the short journey to Walmer to support the fantastic annual lifeboat station open day providing a lifejacket clinic and sharing drowing prevention advice in support of the Royal Lifesaving Society Drowning Prevention week.  

Members of our Team with their Drowning Prevention & Lifejacket stand

The annual lifeboat station open day is a fantastic opportunity to get up close to both of the station’s Atlantic 85 and ‘D’ class inshore lifeboats, as well as being able to chat to the volunteer crew about their lifesaving work.  The open day also helps raise much needed funds towards the running and up-keep of the Lifeboat station.

 

The open day this year featured static displays from the Community First Responders, Deal HM Coastguard Team who are highly trained in mud, cliff and water rescue as well as advanced first aid and high risk missing person searching; Kent Fire and Rescue Service, the British Divers Marine Life Rescue team. The open day operated alongside the Walmer Churches Summer Fete who provided some very enjoyable choral entertainment.

Deal Carnival Queen’s supporting Respect the Water badges on their sashes

The lifeboat crew also took part in a mock rescue in the arena and also out on the water with the help of the Dover All-Weather Lifeboat. A thoroughly brilliant day showcasing the fabulous lifesaving capabilities of the volunteer lifeboat crews and HM Coastguard.   A special mention must be made of all people involved behind the scenes that work tirelessly to make a lifeboat station open day a huge success: the fundraisers, cake bakers, refreshment providers, lifeboat shop staff and children’s painting table/entertainment.

Front page picture credit: Sarah Hewes

Some useful links:

Learn how to float to live

Future medic courses run by British Dives Marine Life Rescue

About the HM Coastguard

Kent Fire & Rescue Service

Community First Responders

Walmer RNLI Station facebook page

Respect the Water

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

Assorted HM Coastguard and RNLI safety literature

You can also keep up-to-date via the Community Safety Team blogspot, Twitter or  Facebook  page for more information detailing the RNLI’s Respect the Water campaign and to find out when the community safety team is active.

Coastal Safety stand at Mayday Coffee Morning

Saturday saw the fabulous Ramsgate RNLI Fundraisers Mayday Coffee Morning raising funds for new lifeboat crew kit. The coffee morning included free tours around the lifeboats, bric a brac stands, the super RNLI shop, lovely cake and coffee; and of course our Community Safety team sharing key safety messages. It was lovely to see Councillor Raushan Ara (Thanet District Councillor for Ramgsate) pop by and have a chat with our team. Raushan is hugely supportive of our team’s drowning prevention work and that of the RNLI and it was fabulous to have the opportunity to chat with her. Our team hugely enjoyed the morning chatting to visitors about water safety.

Councillor Raushan Ara visiting the Mayday Coffee Morning

One of the most important safety messages we talked about was the recent tidal cut-off’s in and around Kingsgate Bay. Our top tips when visiting the coast are:

  1. Check the tide times and weather before you set out
  2. Wear the right kit for the activity & grab some training if you are taking up a new activity from an approved provider
  3. Always carry a means of ‘calling for help’ eg fully charged mobile phone
  4. Tell someone your plans eg when is the latest time that you will be back home
  5. Be aware of your surroundings at all times and heed local safety warnings
  6. If the event of hearing or seeing a person or animal in difficulty at the coast or in the water always dial ‘999’ or ‘112’ ask for the Coastguard without delay every second counts
  7. If you do end up in the water unexpectedly float on your back and float to live.

We would like to pass on our thanks to the Fundraising Team for inviting us along which was appreciated.

The Miss Ramsgate’s visiting the Coffee Morning and were presented with Respect the Water badges which they proudly wore.
One Year On

I thought I would update you on how our first year of being operational has gone. Wow, what a year! The Summer was incredibly hot, as hot as the Summmer of 1976, if you can remember that far back! No stand pipes for water this time or hosepipe bans, but the UK saw some of the worst grass fires for a long time. Well, what has happened:  we have attended over 60 events to-date (still a few more before the year is out including the Coastal Dog Walker Engagement Event with Thanet Police at Botany Bay on Saturday 13th October), this includes community events, talks to community and water activity groups, lifejacket clinic’s, and pop-up stands at beaches and harbours to name but a few.

We have also shared the key safety messages to as many different groups and communities as possible, including visiting the fabulous Margate Mosque and chatting to the Inman; and holding a Respect the Water stall in the Gravesend Gurdwara which was a massive success.  The team have spoken to visiting coach parties and train passengers at Margate on how they can stay safe whilst visiting the seaside. This has proved really worthwhile working in conjunction with face2face teams, lifeboat crew and lifeguards to continually help spread the beach safety messages.

Reminding and Refreshing Beach visitors on Safety Tips

Our team have raised £1,000 towards the RNLI through donations received from groups and individuals after delivering safety talks in the community and at local events.

We have forged collaborative links with a whole host of local community groups, partner agencies and charities so that we can continue our community safety activities and help spread the RNLI key safety messages to as wide an audience as posssible.

 

Our team raised £1,000 with the help of an awesome local Kent County Councillor, Margate Mayor and other local charitable groups towards the running and equipment costs for Swim Safe. Incase you haven’t heard of Swim Safe, it is swimming lessons and water safety awareness in the sea for children aged 7-14 years run inconjuction with Swim England and the RNLI.

Pictured above is our ‘selfie frame’, this was the very 1st outing at the Turner and Pooch Dog Event on 30th September at the Turner Contemporary in Margate.

So, to conclude we have come along way in twelve months and we are looking at making 2019 an even better year. If you would like to find out more about our work then why not follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or check out our blogs which are published weekly during the Summer and monthy during the Winter. Thanks for reading and following our work, until next time take care.