Thanet RNLI Community Safety

Cliff Edge Selfie’s!

Cliff Selfie’s!

The weather this past weekend was absolutely fantastic, the record for the hottest early Bank Holiday Monday was beaten according to BBC Weather. The previous record was 23.6C which was set back in 1999. The hottest part of the UK was Gosport, Hampshire where it reached 24.7C. As thousands of visitors descended to the the coast, the HM Coastguard reported that they had received 94 missing children reports over the bank holiday weekend alone.  Inaddition to the missing children reports, the Coastguard had been sent numerous photograph’s of people posing for ‘selfies’ stood on cliff edges. One in particular at Beachy Head, featured a family posing close to the cliff edge with young children!

The Coastguard warn that there are simply no safe places to take that ‘cliff edge selfie’, as the recent torrential rain, followed by the very dry weather can make cliff edges suspectible to crumbling, rock falls and decay.

How to call the Coastguard

Follow these top tips should you see someone in difficulty in the sea, on the beach or at the coast:

1. Call ‘999’ or ‘112’ and ask for the Coastguard as every second counts. Over half the people we speak to don’t know to call the Coastguard for an emergency at the coast

2. Describe your location to the Coastguard officer where the emergency is taking place

3. Describe the number of people/craft in your group or who you can see in trouble

4. Describe the problem (dog in the water who cannot swim out)

5. Give any additional information, life ring has been thrown to the person

More information on coastal safety

Find out about how to Respect the Water

HM Coastguard twitter feed

HM Coastguard Rescue Youtube video

Discover how cold water shock can effect you. The effect on the body of entering water 15°C and below is often underestimated. This shock can be the precursor to drowning.




National Fire Chief’s Drowning Prevention & Water Safety week
Pictured with the Margate Fire Station Duty Watch

Drowning Prevention Week

This week I have been actively supporting the National Fire Chief’s Drowning Prevention and Water Safety campaign. This campaign has seen a huge amount of innovative engagement activity, including talks to community groups, water safety equipment ‘show and tell’, stands at reservoirs and throw bag training amongst others. This activity has been widespread across the UK involving the respective Fire & and Rescue Services’, Coastguard Volunteer Rescue Teams, RNLI, water companies, water safety campaigners, Search and Rescue Teams, Police Services’ and water safety groups all collaboratively spreading and sharing the water safety and drowning prevention messages. On social media the twitter #BewaterAware has been shared extensively to ensure the message is spread as far as possible and even ‘trended’ 5th on Monday 23rd, although the birth of the Royal baby was ‘trending’ as number one! This campaign has been spreadheaded by the Chief Fire Officers Association Drowning Prevention Lead and East Sussex Chief Fire Officer, Dawn Whittacker

National Fire Chiefs – Be Water Aware Campaign

Different Focus

Each day of the campaign, has seen a focus on a different activity, namely Monday – exploring the waterside equipment aka life rings and throw bags that are now standard around our rivers, canals, coasts and waterways, Tuesday – runners and walkers safety, Wednesday – ‘Away From Home’ (holidays in the UK and abroad and the emphasis on being safe whilst swimming), Thursday – Away From Home, Friday and Saturday will be alcohol related themes (due to the weekend potential for higher rates of socialising).

More young children die in pools abroad on holiday than do overall in the UK!

Kent’s Community Responder Programme

Kent Fire and Rescue Service have teamed up to work collaboratively with the RNLI to roll-out the Community Responder programme. The Community Safety team are delivering the training on behalf of the RNLI to train businesses (at selected locations around Maidstone, close to the River Medway) in water safety and how to deploy the throw-bags and will receive a free throw-line bag to retain on their premises inreadiness for an incident in the river. If this is well received by businesses, it may be rolled out to other areas in the county where water poses a risk in built-up localities.  If you are an organisation or business in Kent and want to find out more then email the Community Safety Team.

Effectively deploying a throw bag to a water casualty

Thanks for reading about this vitally important campaign. Please share far and wide, it just could save someone’s life.

Here are just some of the very useful drowning prevention groups, organisations and individuals, so check them out for more advice:

Doing It For Dylan

Kent Fire and Rescue Service Drowning Prevention

East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service Water Safety

Coast Safe – Devon and Cornwall Police Water Safety

West Mercia Search and Rescue ‘Home and Dry’ campaign

RLSS – Don’t Drink and Drown

RoSPA – Water Safety Advice whilst on holiday

RNLI – Dog Walking Safety Advice

National Chief Fire Officers Drowning Prevention campaign

Safe and Dry – No More River Deaths (Kent Search and Rescue)

National Water Safety Forum

Durham City Council – Don’t Drink and Drown campaign

Carmanthenshire Water Safety Partnership

Kite Surfing & Minnis Bay Sailing Club
Kent Pirates Kite Surfing Group

Over the past 7 days I have been out and about chatting to a couple of really great groups who both use the Thanet coastline for their fantastic activities. The first one being the Kent Pirates Kitesurfing School, who meet at Pegwell Bay. Kitesurfing is growing in popularity at the moment and is a really exhilarating one to learn. This group of kitesurfers were great to chat with and very keen on taking on-board the RNLI key safety messages for their hobby. After finishing my talk, several group members were carrying out their own Big Spring beach clean, which is a testamont to their commitment to helping the local environment and community. The Kitesurfing school recently ran some very popular free sessions for children during the Easter Holidays, backed by Ramsgate Town Council. 

RNLI 9 top key safety messages for kitesurfers are:

  • Always kite with another person.
  • If you go alone, take a means of calling or signalling for help.
  • Never ride out further than you can swim back.
  • Equipment failure does happen. Be prepared.
  • Check the conditions and tides. Don’t go out in conditions you can’t handle.
  • Check what sizes of kites other riders are using. If you do not have the correct size, do not go out.
  • Do not ask or allow someone who is not familiar with kites to help you launch or land – give them some training on how to do it.
  • Always tell someone you are going out and when you will be back.
  • Follow the safety advice from the governing body for kitesurfing, the BKSA, and other expert organisations.

More information on kitesurfing can be found here.


Minnis Bay Sailing Club members

My second visit involved delivering a dingy sailing safety talk to the brilliant Minnis Bay Sailing Club. The sailing club runs a very popular supper club for its members twice a month, also inviting along members of the co-hosted windsurfing club. It was to one of their superb supper club meetings I was invited along to.  Twenty five members attended the talk and were treated to me delivering one of the brand new ‘all singing, all dancing’ RNLI Community Safety talks which incorpoates eye catching and thought provoking video’s, infographics; and question and answer slides.  As well as chatting to the members, I was also able to hand out safety literature and the ever popular Respect the Water stickers.  It was a hugely enjoyable evening and I am very grateful to the Commodore and the Club members for hosting me.  Minnis bay Sailing Club are hosting one of the RYA ‘Push the Boat Out’ days on 19th May. These are a magnificant opportunity to try out sailing for free and to take a look around their club and meet it’s fantastic members. If you fancy having a go, then you must book before arriving on the day.

Further information on RNLI top tips on dingy sailing

Directions on how to find Minnis Bay Sailing Club

RYA ‘Push the Boat Out Day’.

Building new relationships to help save lives at sea!
Recent visit to Ride Cycle Hire, Margate

Over the past week has seen our team busy preparing for the start of the Summer. We have been out and about carrying out visits to businesses and local organisations, building new relationships and refreshing others, whereby they can help spread our key safety messages to their customer base. One of these new exciting relationships is with Ride Cycle Hire, Margate. They are situated at Margate Railway Station and hire out cycles to people who want to explore the lovely coastal routes around East Kent. Ride Cycle Hire have agreed to hand out our safety leaflets, stickers and badges with every bike hiring.

Jet Ski World, Hodges Gap, Palm Bay, Margate

A second example of a newly formed relationship is with Jet Ski World, based in Palm Bay, Margate. They run a personal water craft centre, which is particularly busy at weekends and during school holidays.  We are looking at running an engagement briefing with one of our RNLI qualified personal water craft instructors in the near future. Stay tuned to our website for more details.

Viking Bay, Beach Inspector

Our third key meeting was with one of the new Beach Inspectors, Sharon, for Viking Bay, Broadstairs.  The Beach Inspector is absolutely pivotal in helping us get our safety messages out to beach users. The Beach Inspector is employed by the Your Leisure team. Viking Bay, is one of the busiest beaches in Thanet and attracts a large number of visitors during the Summer holiday period. The Beach Inspector will be working in partnership with our RNLI lifeguards who will be on duty from the end of May onwards.

A big thank you to Ride Cycle Hire, Jet Ski World and Sharon the Beach Inspector for their time this week. By continuing to build and sustain these relationships with trusted local businesses, organisations and individuals we are striving to help make Thanet’s coastline a safer place to visit and enjoy.

Useful Links for safety at the coast:

Coastguard Safety Top Tips

Respect the Water

Float Not Swim

Cold Water Shock

Find my nearest lifeguarded beaches


















A look behind the scenes – Margate Community Safety Team

I thought it was high time that I let you into a few secrets of what goes on behind the scenes of our RNLI Community Safety Team, here in Thanet out of season.

RNLI Throw Bag training

Even though the season hasn’t started yet, we are still busy getting our plans and projects in place for Summer. One such project which we have been working on for some time now, is the training up of groups and businesses inorder to be able to deploy throw bags (RNLI community responder scheme) along our coastlines and harbours should the need arise.  A previous blog post describes how important and useful the throw bags are in the hands of trained members of the local community in key risk locations.  If you are a business, group or individual that is located close to the sea, river, or coast then why not contact us to see if you could come on board?

Swim Safe

Swim Safe

Another awesome project sees for the very first time ‘Swim Safe’ is beng run on Margate main sands. This is the delivery of free sea swim coaching for the age group 7-14 years in collaboration with Swim England RNLI and Thanet District Council. We know that it’s going to be busy, so follow our website for the booking page ‘go live’ date. Schools will be notified too when more information is available.

Respect the Water being launched 23rd May

The RNLI’s national launch of it’s ‘Respect the Water’ campaign is taking place on 23rd May which will help spread our safety mesages prior to the start of the busy Summer. We are currently working on some really exciting plans for this launch in Thanet, so stay tuned and we will be up-dating our social media channels as soon as plans have been confirmed. We will also be working with a local taxi firm, Central Cars in Broadstairs to spread our key safety messages out to customers via their drivers.  Keep an eye on our Facebook, Twitter or blog posts to find out how you can learn and share these important safety messages.

Community engagement is key in spreading the safety messages

On-going local engagement

Inadditon to the above projects, the team continues to deliver safety briefings to local community groups, undertake ‘Incident Prevention Engagement’ (IPE) at beaches or coastal areas where an incident has recently taken place reminding and educating people concerning tides, calling for help and cold water shock.  Examples of recent IPE deployments have been seen at Kingsgate Bay and Dumpton Gap. These are inaddition to seeking fresh and new engagement opportunties with other local coastal activity and comunity groups.

The Team will also be supporting the National Fire Chiefs Council – Drowning Prevention and Water Safety week 23rd-29th April, where we will be sharing on social media material to highlight that drowning is of the UK’s leading causes of accidental death. Kent Fire and Rescue Service also have a useful section on their website highlighting water safety, it’s definitely worth a read!

Anyway, until next time thanks for reading.

Recent Coastal walking activity talk to Past Rotarians Margate

Other key website links:

UK Coastguard

Download your very own tides ap

Respect the Water – Float to live advert


Getting cut off by the tide!
Ramsgate’s Atlantic 85 Inshore Lifeboat

This blog highlight’s the importance of checking the tides before you embark on a lovely walk along the coastline. East Kent Lifeboat crews are regularly called out to persons getting cut-off by the tide at Dumpton Gap, close to Broadstairs.

Handing out doggie treats and safety leaflets at Dumpton Gap

Everyone enjoy’s a walk along the coast, taking in the sea air and spending time with their friends and loved one’s.  Here are just two examples of how lifeboat crews were called to people who were cut-off by the tide: a lady and her two daughters were cut-off by the tide and rescued by the crew of Ramsgate’s Inshore lifeboat (ILB) with Margate’s ILB who were on exercise at the time, who stood-by for support. The full report can be found via Ramsgate RNLI’s Facebook page.  The second incident took place when Ramsgate’s ILB was launched to a report of a lady and a dog cut off by the tide.  Arriving on scene, the lifeboat crew were informed via the Coastguard that the lady and her dog had managed to get ashore and were safe and well. The lady, a local person, also reportedly a strong swimmer reported that she had never seen the tide come in as fast before. Both incidents could have turned out much worse, we want everyone to enjoy their trip to the coast. Please share the important safety messages we have discussed in this blog and follow the top tips below:

Our top 5 tips on how to stay safe at the coast

    How to call the Coastguard








    Our Top 5 web links on how to stay safe whilst at the coast

    Ramsgate tides can be found here.

    Tide times twitter feeds

    More information on staying safe whilst at the coast via the RNLI website

    UK Coastguard safety information website

    UK Tides – mobile phone ap via UK Play for Android

    It’s ok not to be ok!

    Mental health issues are now a fact of life throughout every community, workplace, neighbourhood or family.  You will unfortunately, know of someone who has suffered or is currently suffering from a mental health issue. In years gone by, if someone was having a bad day or going through a bad patch, the age old saying was quite probably “man up” or “sort yourself out”. Thankfully, we are seeing a changing culture, whereby it is now more acceptable to have a ‘bad day’ or that you are ‘going through a bad patch’. It’s ok not to be ok!

    Cuppa & Chat?

    The Samaritans recently ran an excellent campaign entitled ‘Brew Monday’ encourgaing poeple to talk over a cuppa. Thankfully, we are now seeing more and more employers are investing time and resources in looking after their employees mental health.  Great work is currently being undertaken by the charity Mind, working in collaboration with SAR and Emergency Services has to be appaulded.

    I recently refreshed a small volunteer group in my local community. This brings together a small number of dog walkers using a social media platform, who during their daily dog walks, have increased their awareness of anyone they felt was having a bad day close to the coastline or anyone out at sea was looking to be in trouble.  It is not about being a ‘nosey parker’, but to ask one simple question ‘are you ok’ if they see someone out and about who didn’t seem ok.  Our local press recently carried a news item highlighting the very tragic case of lady who travelled down from London, who took her own life in the sea.  Dog walkers are out at all times of the day and in all weathers and can spot someone who may need help from the emergency services. The Coastguard, RNLI and other emergency services would rather be called out and it’s a false alarm, than not at all and someone is indeed in difficulty.

    I’ve included my top 10 links at the bottom of this blog that are all designed to provide help around mental health issues. Take the time, have a cuppa and a natter. “It’s good to talk”.



    Kent County Council




    Mental health

    NHS resources

    Time To change


    Vivus – new documentary series from @mohagony about raising mental health awareness by @RosieCarney11 how music has helped her battle with depression and anxiety.





    SafetyInaction CommunitSafety RNLI RNLIEducation Safetyatsea CommunitySafetyRNLI
    Safety In Action & Lifeboat Call-out

    RNLI Education stand at Safety In Action Event

    Kent RNLI Education Team at Dreamland

    This past week, I have been at Dreamland Margate, assisting the RNLI Kent Educational Team, at the Safety In Action event. Safety In Action is part of an interactive learning experience for over 700 Year 6 children from Thanet, to help them gain vital safety lessons before their move to secondary school. This is organised and run by a company called Salus and involves a whole host of different agencies.

    Lifeboat Call-Out

    On the Monday, whilst I was helping the team to set up the stand, my RNLI pager suddenly sprang into life, singing out its distintive high pitched tone, summoning me to the Lifeboat Station for a ‘service call’.. The message displayed on the pager screen indicated ‘ALB Immediate Readiness’. This means that the All-Weather Boat was required to be launched.  I pedallled quickly to the station on my bike, which I had strategically positioned close to our stand for a quick getaway. I arrived at the Lifeboat station in good time, quickly changing into my yellow wellies, hardhat with ear protection, lifejacket and grabbing the tractor key. Whilst I was doing this, I learnt from the Coxswain’s briefing that the All Weather Boat (ALB) was launching to a large buoy that was drifting into a shipping lane. The full Lifeboat Press Officer’s Report can be read here.

    After carrying out my essential safety checks and liaising with the Headlauncher and Coxswain, I manoeuvred the tractor carefully pushing the Mersey class lifeboat out of the boathouse and down the slipway, launching her into the sea. After returning to the boathouse, I got myself back to help the crew at the Safety In Action event.

    Organisations involved in Safety In Action

    The organisations involved included:

    Kent Police, British Transport Police, Kent Fire & Rescue Service, Kent County Council, Kenward Trust, NHS (School Nurse Team), Hopkins, Headstart Kent, Margate Task Force and Kent County Council Early Help.

    Spot the dangers banner

    The RNLI Education Team have 10 minutes to talk with a small group of children about safety around the coast and beach. After the 10 minutes is up, the group of children move onto another stand where they receive a different topic of interest eg railway safety or fire safety etc. The young people we met with were really interested and enthusiastic in learning about sea safety.  We wish you the best of luck in your transition to your new schools in September and thank you for visiting our stand.

    Margate Yacht Club chat
    margateyachtclub margatelifeboat ramsgatelifeboat thanetlifeguards margatecoastguard respectthewater RNLIwatersafety RNLicommunitysafety Margate broadstairs ramsgate dingysailing lifejackets callingforhelp handheldradio vhf
    Margate Yacht Club members

    On Friday evening I popped across to one of our lovely neighbour’s, Margate Yacht Club.  I had been invited over by the Commodore, Sue to give a talk on some of the RNLI’s key safety messages.  I was immediately impressed by the enthusiasm and level of commitment of club members, two of whom had recently passed the massively gruelling RYA Powerboat Instructor course. Top work guys! I was also impressed by the club’s attitude to safety out on the water.

    During the evening I covered anumber of topic’s including:  ‘calling for help’ devices, lifejacket safety checks,float not swim‘ – techniques you should use if you find yourself in the water unexpectedly; and RNLI launch and recovery. As I was carrying my RNLI pager, anumber of the audience were interested in the procedure when the UK Coastguard requests the services of an RNLI crew for a launch.  This will be the subject of another blog post in the near future.

    margateyachtclub margatelifeboat margatecoastguard thanetlifeguards ramsgatelifeboat RNLIwatersafety RNLIcommunitysafety Margate ramsgate broadstairs yachting sailing dingysailing callingforhelp mayday panpan
    Calling for help devices on display

    The top 5 ‘calling for help’ devices (some are featured in the photograph above) I covered are detailed below:

    PLB (Personal Locator Beacon)

    EPIRB (Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon)

    AIS device (Automatic Identification System)

    VHF/DSC – VHF radio & Digital Selective Calling

    FlaresStill recommended by the MCA and the RNLI as one of the preferred calling for help devices compared with the electronic visual distress signals (EVDS) at this time.

    One of the questions that was posed during the Q & A session concerned the lifespan of a foam-filled lifejacket and buoyancy aids.  The RNLI goodbook indicates that as with inflatible lifejackets, many manufacturers recommend the lifespan of a foam-filled PFD is no more than 10 years. Visual inspection is recommended.  Damage to the PFD – eg squashed foam, tears, abrasions, cuts in the cloth and webbing, colour change or damage to the buckles – that would affect the operation of the device can lead to life-threatening reduction in safety offered by the product. They should be repaired or removed from service.

    Thank you to the Commodore and the club members for hosting me and listening to the chat. Hope to see you all again soon.

    Couple of events to look out for involving Margate Yacht Club :

    Push the Boat Out (where you can get out on the water to try sailing and windsailing for free) is taking place during the month of May. Keep up-to-date on what’s on locally by visiting the Push the Boat Out website

    Man of Kent Festival  being hosted by Margate Yacht Club Saturday 9th June.  For more details keep checking the Margate Yacht Club website.

    margateyachtclub margatelifeboat margatecoastguard thanetlifeguards ramsgatelifeboat callingforhelp dingysailing yachting lifejackets RNLIwatersafety RNLIcommunitysafety personallocatorbeacon Automaticidentificationsystem margate broadstairs ramsgate
    Key safety message literature on display to yacht Club members