Thanet RNLI Community Safety

Do You Enjoying Bodyboarding? Here’s How To Stay Safe

Bodyboarding is of the most popular board sports invented, with a reported 20 million surfers and bodyboarder’s across the world with the number on the increase.  Every bodyboarder has her/his own reasons for taking up the sport, however, the mixture of physical exercise, increase in wellbeing and mental health; being at one with nature; and getting a great dose of sunlight and sea air appear to be some of the the main benefits.   Numerous self-help groups across coastal area’s have sprung up using bodyboarding to combat mental health issues.

Margate Community Blue Light Day exercise 2019 – Photo credit: Sarah Hewes

Lifeguards and Lifeboat Crews are regularly called out to assist and deal with incidents involving bodyboarders.  Here are some safety tips to help you stay safe whilst having a fun time:

Top 11 Body Boarding Safety Tips

1. Body Boarding is much more fun with a mate –  It is always better to surf alongside another person for safety sake incase one of you should get into difficulty

2. Let someone know that you’re going out, the location & what is the latest time you will be back –  this is so important incase the HM Coastguard/Lifeboat have to start a search

3. Check out the tide times and weather forecast – there are plenty of free smart device app’s available to download for weather forecasting and tide times

4. Have you considered the dangers of rip currents? They are the cause of a significant number of lifeguard call-outs every year.  More information on rip currents

5. Be realistic about your limits. Even the most experienced bodyboarders have been caught out in the past.

6. Grab some training. There are a multitude of approved bodyboarding schools across the country. Why not grab a few lessons yourself before you head out for the first time.

7. Always wear a leash – So you don’t become separated from your board.  If you have got hold of your board you will have something to keep you afloat should you get into difficulty. It will also help lifeboat and Coastguard crews locate you more easily.

8. Wear the correct wetsuit – As well as keeping you warm, wetsuits will give some additional protection from rock scrapes or surfboard impacts.

9. Always think about other surfers and water users – learn about surfer etiquette and rights of way

10. Know who to call in a coastal emergency – If you see or hear someone or an animal that you think is in difficulty in the water dial ‘999’ or ‘112’ and ask for the Coastguard straight away.


11. Bodyboard between the red and yellow flags – the lifeguards are an excellent source of local knowledge eg hazards, tide times, weather forecasts, injury prevention amongst others.  The RNLI indicate that “British and Irish waters are incredibly unpredictable and one of the biggest dangers with bodyboarding is surfing outside of the red and yellow flag lifeguarded area, outside of lifeguard hours”.

Useful statistics

RNLI lifeboat crews launched 18 times to bodyboarders in trouble in 2016. In addition, RNLI lifeguards went to the rescue in 883 bodyboarding related incidents. Over half of these incidents incidents involved rip currents.


Ramsgate’s Atlantic 85 Inshore Lifeboat

Useful links

British Bodyboarding Club

British Surfing

Surfing England

British Surfing UK Surfing Guide

Surfers Against Sewage




HM Coastguard


Lifeguards last weekend patrolling beaches before closing down for the winter

This weekend (31st Aug and 1st Sept) sees the last two days that lifeguards will be patrolling Thanet’s beaches before they shut down for the winter period. If you are thinking of making the most of the last weekend before the children go back to school or perhaps grabbing that last minute break to the coast then here are some top tips to help keep you and your family safe:

  1. Visit a lifeguarded beach and chat to the lifeguard for essential safety information
Beach Safety Flags

2.  Know your beach flags and take on board the advice

  3.  Read any warning signs when you arrive at the beach and heed the advice at all times

4.  Rip currents are powerful currents of water moving away from the shore.

  • Don’t try to swim against it or you’ll get exhausted.
  • If you can stand, wade don’t swim.
  • If you can, swim parallel to the shore until free of the rip and then head for shore.
  • Always raise your hand and shout for help.


5.  Always carry a ‘calling for help device’ whatever activity you are undertaking so that you can summon help straight away as every second counts.

6.  If you fall into the water unexpectedly or get into difficulty in the water float for your life

7.  Keep inflatables for the pool.  More information on inflatables

8. If you should hear or see an animal or person in the water in difficulty, don’t go in after them call ‘999’ or 112′ and ask for the Coastguard at the Coast.  If there is any rescue equipment nearby such as a throwline or life buoy try to throw this to the person in the water without putting yourself in danger.  More information on what to do if you saw someone in difficulty in the water

9. Whatever water related activity you are taking part in always wear a lifejacket or buoyancy aid.  Lifejackets are useless unless worn!

10.  Do you remember the 5 top tips to help keep your children safe at the beach? The above is a reminder.

We look forward to seeing the lifeguards patrolling the beaches again next Summer.

Other useful links:

Wrist bands – know how to relocate your lost child

Know who to call for a coastal emergency

Our ultimate guide to finding a lifeguarded beach in Thanet


J Homer


What to do if you are stung by a jelly fish?

Jelly fish stings are very common at this time of the year due to the large influx of visitors to the coast.They are considered to be part of the plankton, which means that they can’t swim against the current. They can get carried ashore when the wind, waves and current carry them there. 

Our lifeguard colleagues are frequently asked to treat jelly fish stings. So, to dispel any of those ‘old wives tales’ and to help those extremely busy Hospital Accident Departments we have included advice below :

Obtain help if possible either from a lifeguard or someone with 1st aid training.

 If help is not available:

• Rinse the affected area with sea water (not fresh water)

• Remove any spines from the skin using the edge of a bank card or tweezers

• Soak the area in very warm water (as hot as can be tolerated) for at least 30 mins. Test the water before you put someone else’s hand in the water

• Use hot towels if you can’t soak it

• Take pain killers like paracetamol or ibuprofen (If not allergic)


• Use vinegar

• Do not wee on the sting

• Do not apply ice or a cold pack

• Do not touch the spines with your bare hands

• Don’t cover or close the wound

Go to a Minor Injuries Unit if you have :

• severe pain that is not going away

• have been stung on your face or testicles

• been stung by a sting ray

Nearest NHS Minor Injuries Unit can be found via


NHS England

RNLI Lifeguards

4 Top Hacks To Help Keep You Safe At The Coast


These four top hacks in the form of the Water Safety Code will help keep you safe whilst at the coast. The Water Safety Code is shared by the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI), Royal Lifesaving Society Society (RLSS) and Swim England – all key Drowning Prevention and Water Safety organisations.   It is integral in helping to keep people safe at the coast or at any stretch of water.

Water Safety Code

  1.   STOP and THINK – Look for dangers. Always Read The Signs




2.  STAY TOGETHER – Never Swim Alone. Always go with friends or family

3.   IN AN EMERGENCY : Shout for help if you are in difficulty, call ‘999’ or ‘112’ ask for the Coastguard at the Coast or Fire Service inland


4.   If you fall in, Float on your back, ‘Float to live’  – check out the video below. Throw something that floats to anyone who has fallen in.

More information on drowning prevention

HM Coastguard Safety Advice At The Coast

Free Swimming Lessons In Thanet

National Water Safety Forum

Where Can I Find A Lifeguarded Beach In Kent


Drowning Prevention Week stand at ‘Viking Bay’ Broadstairs
Our Drowning Prevention Week stand all set up at Viking Bay, Broadstairs

Viking Bay, Broadstairs was the location of our Drowning Prevention week Pop-Up stand on Saturday (15th June).  The Drowning Prevention week was created by the Royal Life Saving Society UK (RLSS UK) which aims to reduce the number of drowning and near drowning incidents that occur in the UK every year, by showing people how to be safe and have fun near water. The campaign encourages schools, clubs, leisure centres and communities, to promote water safety education through events, lessons, games and activities, in a bid to make people more aware of the dangers of water.

Viking Bay, Broadstairs – one of Thanet’s lovely beaches which affords lifeguard cover during the Summer

Our team hugely enjoyed talking to visitors to Viking Bay about a whole host of water safety topics including : inflatables are not for use at the coast, how to ‘float to live’ if you fall into the water, know to call the HM Coastguard if you hear or see a person or animal in difficulty in the water, free swimming lessons for children at Margate during the Summer, lifejacket checks, personal locator beacons, not to enter the water if your dog gets into difficulty and how to Respect the Water. John Homer one of our teams Community Safety Advisors said “our Drowning Prevention stand at Viking Bay proved really popular speaking with over three hundred people and we would like to thank everyone who stopped by to chat about how to stay safe near water”.

One of our lovely doggie visitors enjoying the ‘selfie frame’

Find out Cameron Gosling’s story

HM Coastguard advice on the use of inflatables at the coast