There is nothing better than enjoying a lovely walk with your dog at the coast taking in sea air, grabbing some exercise and enjoying time with your friends and family. However, lifeboat crews and Coastguard Rescue Teams (CRT) are frequently called out to rescue dogs that have entered the water for one reason or another or fallen over the edge of a cliff. Sometimes their owners will enter the water to try and rescue them too. In 2019 RNLI crews were launched 157 times to incidents involving dogs.
If you live close to the coast and are an avid follower of local coastal interest pages on social media you will may have seen the images and video’s showing the recent cliff collapses around the country. Very sadly, a cliff collapse in February caused the death of a dog in the west country.
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.
How To Enjoy A Fabulous & Safe Time At The Coast This Summer – Our Ultimate Guide
Just recently we’ve been very fortunate to enjoy some really nice weather and higher temperatures. Hurrah I hear you say! This has resulted in large numbers of people flocking to the beach to soak up the sun and enjoy the seaside.
The RNLI (Royal National Lifeboat Institution), along with the HM Coastguard and all the Volunteer Beach Wardens who are helping to keep our beaches safe during COVID-19 want everyone to have a fabulous time, but to take on board some simple safety advice which will enable you to enjoy a safe time too.
You may have read some of the media reports that the RNLI have rescued countless people on inflatables so far this year who have drifted out to sea. Two young people were safely rescued off Botany Bay, Broadstairs in July 2019. Our advice about taking inflatables to the coast is that they are meant for the pool and not the sea. If you do use them in the sea 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 between the red and yellow flags on a lifeguarded beach
Never use an inflatable in big waves
Never use an inflatable when the orange windsock is flying as this indicates off-shore winds 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 lifejacket or buoyancy aid. This will provide the necessary flotation should the inflatable suffer a puncture or similar
Float to Live
Enjoying a great swim in the sea is a fantastic way to relax and enjoy some exercise. However, if you do find yourself in difficulty or fall into the water unexpectedly remember to ‘Float to Live’ and watch this short video which could help save your life.
Cold Water Shock
Have you heard of ‘cold water shock’? This video will give you some lifesaving advice about ‘cold water shock’. Some tips to help you survive cold water shock include:
Take a minute. The initial effects of cold water pass in less than a minute so don’t try to swim straight away
Relax and float on your back to catch your breath. Try to get hold of something that will help you float
Keep calm then call for help or swim for safety if you’re able
Taking alittle time before you set up for the day to think about the five safety tips above will help you enjoy an enjoyable time. Lifeguards are frequently notified of missing children so having a plan incase a child goes missing is really worthwhile. Children’s waterproof wrist bands which carry their parents/guardians mobile telephone contact number are available from the Lifeguards at most beaches. Due to the COVID-19 situation the only beaches which are patrolled by RNLI lifeguards in Thanet are Viking Bay, Broadstairs and Margate Main Sands.
Knowing who to call in the event of hearing or seeing a person or animal in the water in difficulty or at the coast is so important. Over half the people we speak to during our events don’t know to dial ‘999’ or ‘112’ and ask for the Coastguard. Asking for another emergency service could waste vital minutes in getting specialist search and rescue teams; and the correct equipment to the scene quickly. More information on knowing who to call in a coastal emergency
Cut-Off by the tide
Around Thanet we are very lucky to have some beautiful coastline which is fabulous for walking and exploring. Similar to other parts of the UK, some of this coastline (Dumpton Gap, Stone Bay and environs, Botany Bay and Kingsgate Bay) gets cut-off by the in-coming tide and every year people have to be rescued by lifeguards and lifeboat crews. Getting cut-off by the tide is pretty easy to do unless you take some precautions:
John Homer one of our team’s most experienced Community Safety Advisors said “we hope everyone has an excellent time at the beach and the weather stays warm. Please take some time to think about the safety advice and have a plan if things go wrong. In 2019 two young people who were swept out to sea on an inflatable at Botany Bay knew how to ‘float to live’ definitely saved their lives”.
Weever fish are plain looking fish and are very common during the Summer months around the UK shore line. Often they nestle in the sand and in water just a few centimetres deep. A weever fish will raise a sharp spine on it’s back in self defence if it is trodden upon. Here are some top tips from our Lifeguard colleagues:
Place the effected area in water as hot as you can stand it for around 30 minutes. This will destroy the protein based venom and will allow you to continue your day at the beach. Test the water first so as not to scald the person who has been stung.
Whilst the stings are painful they are generally nothing to worry about and will not cause any significant damage
There are far greater risks and hazards associated with the coastal environments: the tides, water movement and the effects of cold water shock.
It is always recommended to visit a lifeguarded beach where trained lifeguards are available for advice for all things beach safety and first aid incase you are stung by a weever fish.
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.
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:
Statistics reveal that half of people who accidentally drown in the UK never intended to enter the water. It is a fact that they were running, walking, fishing or cycling near water that put them at risk of drowning. So, Day Two of the National Fire Chief’s National Drowning Prevention Week focuses on those everyday activities that we all enjoy going out for a walk, run, cycle or angling. In 2017, 255 people died after slipping, tripping, falling or simply underestimating the risks associated with being near water. If you do end up in the water always float to live.
I hope you are enjoying this long spell of hot weather! It’s been lovely being able to sit outside and enjoy abit of al fresco dining for a change. Thinking back to the horrible winter we had to endure, we certainly deserve it!. The hot weather is certainly attracting lots of visitors to the coast, to soak up the sun, enjoy the beach and get involved in some great water based activities. Unfortunately, last weekend our lifeboat crews, lifeguards and Coastguard teams were kept busy with two calls to people being cut off by the tide at Stone Bay and Botany Bay.
Our advice is to check the tide times before you head out for your trip to the coast, to ensure that you stay safe. If you are at a lifeguarded beach, then why not go over and ask about the tide times and local safety information. It just may save someone’s life!
You can catch up on the RNLI Press Officers report detailing the incident where 50 people were cut-off by the tide at Botany Bay via this link.
Saturday also saw 8 people cut-off by the tide at Stone Bay. The Press Officers report can be found here.
Over half of the people we speak to don’t know who to call for a coastal emergency. Have a look at this video to remind you who to call. Calling the wrong emergency service will only add to the delay on starting a rescue or a search for a missing person or animal at sea. Make sure you call the Coastguard via ‘999’ everytime for any coastal emergency.
Find out more about staying safe at the coast by checking out these links:
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.
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
Our Top 5 web links on how to stay safe whilst at the coast
On Monday afternoon I ventured out into the beautiful half-term sunshine (did someone say sunshine?) onto Kingsgate and Botany Bay to deliver safety messages to dog walkers and other coastal users. We are particularly lucky in Thanet to have a multitude of great beaches. This was particularly important as the seaside naturally sees an influx of visitors during half-term and that two people had been rescued a week previously by the Margate Inshore Lifeboat after being cut-off by the tide on Kinsgate Bay.
During the session I met with some great doggie’s, dog walkers and other coastal users; handing out free doggie treats and advice leaflets. The key safety messages that I spoke about were: 1) check the weather and tide times before you head out; 2) take a means of calling for help with you; 3) don’t enter the water if you see someone or an animal in trouble, instead call the Coastguard via the ‘999’ emrgency system. 4) if you do enter the water unexpectedly, fight the urge to swim, ‘float not swim’. 5) cold water shock.
From time-to-time we run dog walker & coastal user engagement events on Thanet beaches, if you see us out and about pop over and say hello.
For more information on RNLI safety advice check out their great website
Find out about Thanet’s great beaches and attractions by following Visit Thanet
Saturday (3rd February 2017), whilst the majority of Margate’s residents were sat down for lunch, out with their families, or contemplating a packed weekend of sport in front of the TV. The little grey box attached to the town’s RNLI crews trouser belts (electronic pager) sounded summoning them urgently to launch their inshore boat. The launch was at the request of the UK Coastguard to persons cut off by the tide at Kingsgate Bay.
Three crew assembled at the station, one of whom was one of the station’s highly trained helmsmen (who commands the boat). Inaddition to the boat crew, three further crew were required to act as tractor driver and two launchers.
On this occasion the crew quickly launched and successfully carried out the rescue of two persons. A link to the Margate Lifeboat Press Officers report is included here.
Please spread our ‘staying safe top tips’ for visiting the coast amongst your family, friends and work colleages 1). Check and double check the tides and weather forecast; 2). Tell someone where you are going and when you are going to return; 3). Take a fully charged mobile phone pr other ‘calling for help’ device with you and have it to close at hand to use in a waterproof case 4) Wear the correct kit for the activity. 5) If you see someone or an animal in difficulty in the sea dial ‘999’ and ask for the Coastguard For further advice check out the RNLI’s website.
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