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.