Thanet RNLI Community Safety

How To Enjoy A Fabulous & Safe Time At The Coast This Summer – Our Ultimate Guide

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.

Inflatables

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

Beach Safety

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:

  • Check the weather and tide times via tides near me app 
  • Carry a means of calling for help eg fully charged mobile phone in a waterproof case
  • Let someone know where you are going and the latest time you will return
  • Wear the right clothing and equipment for the activity
  • Be aware of your surroundings at all times and take noice of hazard warning signs
  • If you should hear or see an animal or person in difficulty in the water or at the coast dial ‘999’ or ‘112’ straight away and ask for the Coastguard every second counts
  • If you do get cut-off by the tide don’t enter the water, but dial ‘999’ ask for the Coastguard
  • If you fall into the water unexpectedly float on your back and follow the float to live principles

Don’t Drink and Drown

If you are enjoying a drink whilst at the coast make sure you take onboard the safety advice mentioned above.  Mixing swimming and alcohol could have dire consquences.  Find out more about the Don’t Drink and Drown campaign

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”.

Other useful links

How do I prevent being cut-off by the tide?

Find your nearest lifeguarded beach

Why inflatables are not designed for the beach

It’s hot out there – what to do if you get into difficulty

Acknowledgements

RNLI

Visiting the coast whilst on holiday – know what to do in a coastal emergency?

Visiting the coast whilst on holiday, a short break or just for the day is always a great opportunity to unwind and spend quality time with friends and or the family. Maybe you will take in a bracing coastal walk, take part in some form of water activity or out on the water? Sometimes whilst on holiday people will take risks around water which they wouldn’t normally do. Follow our top 10 tips to enable you to have a safe, but enjoyable time:

  1. Consider signing up for some training before undertaking any form of activity on the water from a recognised training provider
  2. Wear a buoyancy aid or properly serviced lifejacket
  3. Always carry a means of ‘calling for help’ eg mobile phone even if you walking along the coast or a VHF radio in a waterproof case if you are out on the water with flares and a Personal Locator Beacon
  4. Check the weather and tide times before you venture out
  5. Be aware of your surroundings at all times and heed local hazard warning signs
  6. If you should see or hear an animal or person in difficulty at the coast or in the water call ‘999’ and ask for the Coastguard giving an accurate location
  7. Download the SafeTrx App and use it to keep safe whilst swimming, kayacking, sailing or diving
  8. Always supervise your children when they are in the water
  9. Use a lifeguarded beach where possible
  10. If you do find yourself in the water unexpectedly always float to live

This blog is part of our commitment to supporting the National Fire Chief’s Drowning Prevention campaign week. Always check out all the #BeWaterAware social media postings for more safety advice.

Always be aware of your surroundings and local hazard warning signs
Half the people that accidentally drown never intended on entering the water!
RNLICommunitysafety RNLIWatersafety Bebeachsafe Dogwalking Thanetcoastguard Margatelifeboat ramsgatelifeboat RNLIVolunteers
Doggie’s enjoying the lovely beach – but would you enter the water if your dog got into difficulty?

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.

Coastal runners
The HM Coastguard, RNLI and UK Fire Service’s attend calls each year to people that have entered the water in an attempt to rescue their dog either at the coast or at inland waterways. Unfortunately, in some cases the owner enters the water and loses their life and the dog self-rescues. Advice from the HM Coastguard is not to enter the water if you are in any doubt that your dog is in difficulty, but to dial ‘999’ ask for the Coastguard. If you are inland call ‘999’ and ask for the Fire Service.