Thanet RNLI Community Safety

Lifejacket Clinic at Dover Open Marina Weekend proves a success

Dover Open Marina Weekend is a fantastic opportunity to have a detailed look around the workings of a busy marina as well as enjoy a tour of the Dover lifeboat. When we were invited by the Dover Lifeboat Coxswain James Clapham to hold a lifejacket clinic at this fantastic event we jumped at the chance.  Inaddition to supporting the Maritime Safety Week which showcased maritime safety good practise.

Running a lifejacket clinic is an invaluable way of helping the sailing community to keep safe by checking their lifejackets to ensure they work if they were needed and secondly to pass on some tips to help keep them in a good condition incase they are required to be deployed . The checks we carry out are not meant to replace a full service that a service agent or manufacturer would carry out which we recommend that you undertake on a yearly basis.

The RNLI have teamed up with the marine insurance company GJW Direct to support our lifejacket clinic’s nationally and are now a commercial partner.

During the lifejacket clinic our team checked forty five lifejackets with seventeen failing for a variety of reasons. These were out of date firing mechanisms, rusty or corroded gas cyclinders, decaying jackets which will have been left in damp conditions, already fired and missing cylinders.  We also noticed that anumber were missing crotch straps which are absolutely essential for the safe and effective deployment of the jacket if you ended up in the water.

A thoroughly enjoyable day chatting to visitors and passing on our key safety messages to help keep people safe whilst at the coast.  We would like to pass on our thanks to James Clapham (Coxswain) and the rest of the Dover Lifeboat Station for making us hugely welcome.

Our top 10 tips on how to keep your lifejacket serviceable

  1. Inspect the outside of the jacket for wear and tear. Take a detailed look at the cover for any damage, webbing, harnesses, crotch straps, sizing and fit
  2. Even if it is a jacket with an inspection window, undoe the lifejacket at the point next to the inflator.
  3. Check the gas cylinder is hand tight, or if it’s a bayonet type, is it firmly locked in position.
  4. If the lifejacket is new to you, remove the cylinder and check it has not been fired.
  5. Replace the cylinder if required.
  6. Look for the green coloured indicators on the trigger and if fitted, on the automatic firing system.
  7. Keep spare cyclinders and replacement parts for the automatic firing system on hand. So, that the jacket can be re-armed. Or, keep a spare jacket for each person onboard. The replacement parts are relatively inexpensive to purchase. Don’t forget jackets for your dog(s) if you take them on a voyage!
  8. Get the jacket serviced at the manufacturer’s recommended intervals.  This is highly recommended.
  9. Undertake a thorough inspection of each and every lifejacket at least once a year – more often if the lifejacket is used frequently.
  10. Conduct an inflation test of the bladder annually. Inflate the bladder through the oral inflation tube via a low pressure air pump or simply blowing into the tube. Leave inflated for at least 24 hours in a termperature stable environment to check the bladders integrity.

More useful links on lifejackets:

The RNLI’s complete guide to lifejackets

How to choose a lifejacket and maintain it – RNLI

Lifejackets Useless Unless Worn – Thanet RNLI CS

How to book a free RNLI lifejacket clinic

Dover Lifeboat Station

GJW Direct

What are the advantages of an EPIRB (Electronic Position Indicator Radio Beacon)

What is an EPIRB ?(Electronic Position Indicator Radio Beacon)

An EPIRB works in a similar way to that of a Personal Locator Beacon (PLB). The EPIRB is activated when a sailor gets into difficulty out at sea.  The EPIRB uses the search and rescue satellites to send a digital message (including your unique number) to the Coastguard that clearly indicates that you’re in trouble.

What frequency does it work on?

406MHz distress frequency. It also operates using a 121.5MHz frequency, which means lifeboats can home in on the device once they get closer. The beacon is a recognised way of ‘calling for help’ by Search and Rescue services.

Registration of the EPIRB

You must register the EPIRB with the vessel you are using. It is not registered to a person like a PLB, and if you change vessel, then you will have to re-register. You can register your EPIRB here

How long will the battery last in an EPIRB?

Normally for a minimum of 48 hours.

What happens if the EPIRB is activated and help is needed?

The distress signals are passed to the Mission Control Centre (MCC) in the National Maritime Operations Centre (NMOC) in Fareham. They will first attempt to call you using your contact information to check it’s not a false alarm. If it’s not they will launch a rescue operation. The 406MHz system gives the Coastguard a much more accurate idea of your position (if GPS enbled they will track your vessels position to within 100m.

What happens if the EPIRB is not GPS enabled?

If not GPS enabled it could take 90 minutes to get a fix); they will also know what to look for from your registered information and will be on the way much more quickly – 406MHz beacons show up quicker than the old 121.5MHz ones.

Key features of an EPIRB:

  • can be float-free, automatic or manual
  • must be registered with HM Coastguard
  • always choose a GPS-enabled EPIRB
  • can be dropped next to a ‘man overboard’ to mark their position
  • fitted with a flashing light
  • radio direction finding equipment can be fitted and used to home in on to beacon

Each year on 4th April ‘406 Day’ is celebrated, a national campaign run by NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) to spread awareness of the importance of emergency position indicating radio beacons, or EPIRBS, and personal locator beacons, or PLBs, in marine safety

How to use my EPIRB?

Make sure your EPIRB is up-right in the water and not on it’s side.  Once you have switched it on leave it operating, do not switch it off.

What happens if I accidentally activate the EPIRB? 

If you accidentally activate your EPIRB inform the HM Coastguard straight away. The advice is not to switch it off until the Coastguard ask you to.

How to look after your EPIRB

Examine your EPIRB’s condition on a monthly basis and perform a self-test. Follow the manufacturer’s self-test instructions to the letter, to avoid sending a false alarm. Replace the battery when required.

Need more help with registering?

Contact The UK Beacon Registry ukbeacons@mcga.gov.uk
Telephone: 01326 211569
Fax: 01326 319264

More useful information

New National Maritime Operations Centre HM Coastguard

RNLI complete guide to EPIRB’s

Skipper rescued off Salcombe had done all the right things!

Distress alerts helps HM Coastguard yacht rescue in rough seas

HM Coastguard – office access and opening times

Acknowledgements

HM Coastguard

RNLI

Ocean Signal

Why Wearing a Lifejacket or Buoyancy Aid Is So Important

 

It’s Maritime Safety Week and we are joining forces with other agencies and organisations in sharing top tips to help keep you safe whilst you are out on the water.  It was announced by the Casualty Review Panel (1) that eleven people who drowned in 2018 may have been alive today if they had worn a lifejacket or personal floation device (PFD).

The Panel reviewed 22 fatalities from 2018 and agreed that 11 lives could have been saved if they had been wearing a lifejacket.  This figure is slightly lower than last year’s figure of 13 lives (out of 27 fatalities).  In the twelve years that the Panel has been meeting, is has recorded that 200 lives could have been saved by wearing a lifejacket or buoyancy aid.

The majority of incidents in 2018 the Panel discovered  involved commercial fishermen (including accidents at fish farms) and anglers, many of which happened in Scottish Sea Lochs.

 

The Panel’s overriding advice was to wear a lifejacket or buoyancy aid appropriate to your activity which is proven to greatly improve your chances of surviving the shock of entering cold water. 

The Panel also recommended an additional package of measures to keep you safe for your activity:

  • Carrying a VHF DSC radio and knowing how to use it to contact the Coastguard or other vessels
  • Carrying a Personal Locator Beacon (PLB) or Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB will help rescuers to locate you and even if you’re unconscious the alarm will be raised.
  • Downloading the RYA SafeTrx app on your phone and using it in an emergency could make all the difference.
  • Wearing appropriate clothing and carrying the right safety equipment for your sport, particularly rock anglers and sport fishermen wading in slippery rivers.
  • Making sure your equipment is properly fitted, for example wearing a lifejacket with a crotch strap attached. This advice comes after the panel looked at a case where a yachtsman died because he was wearing a lifejacket that was not properly fitted, had ridden up and was not keeping his head above water.

 

(1) The Casualty Review Panel is made up of representatives from: Angling Trust, RNLI, Royal Yachting Association, Marine Accident Investigation Branch, Maritime and Coastguard Agency, National Water Safety Forum, British Canoe Union, the lifejacket industry, Scottish Fishermen’s Federation and University of Portsmouth. The panel uses data supplied from HM Coastguard and MAIB databases and therefore covers mostly coastal incidents. Other inland fatal angling incidents, where a lifejacket might have saved a life may have occurred during 2018 but these are not included for this exercise.

More useful lifesaving links

Lifejackets – how to choose one

Lifejackets – which one should I buy?

Calling for help at the coast – which device should I get?

RYA SafeTrx

Find out more about Maritime Safety Week 2019

Acknowledgements

To all the agencies involved in the Casualty Review Panel and in particular HM Coastguard for the infographic and stats

 

 

Advice on Board? How can you get a free RNLI ‘safety’ Advice on Board session

Boating should be fun. Every year the RNLI launches their lifeboats to thousands of incidents, many of which could have been prevented by following simple safety precautions or having a plan in the event of something going wrong.  The RNLI Community Safety Teams can help you make your boat as safe as possible.

Advice on Board

The RNLI provides a wide range of safety advice to participants of all types of water based activity.  One of the specialist areas that our Community Safety Team can provide is an ‘Advice on Board’ session. This can be at a marina or harbour where your boat is moored; at your home or work address or other location where your vessel is stored. It can include any almost any type of leisure craft and be tailored to a time and date that suits you.

The aim of the ‘Advice on Board’ session is a confidential one-to-one discussion with you about onboard safety and equipment.  The session is not a ‘pass or fail’ inspection.  It is not a safety check or an MoT like a garage would provide for your car, but a useful way of you thinking about: ‘what am I already doing about safety and how can I improve it’.

Here are just some of the discussional items that we will include during an ‘Advice on Board’ session:

  • Do you and your crew practise regularly a MOB drill (‘man overboard’ drill)?
  • How often do you get your lifejackets checked and serviced?
  • What ‘calling for help’ devices do you carry and do all your crew know how to use them?
  • What spares do you carry to undertake basic repairs to your vessel?
  • What navigational aids do you carry?

ramsgateharbour RNLIcommunitysafety seasafety RNLI harbour AOB adviceonboard lifejacketclinics

Newcomer or Experienced boater?

Whether you are a newcomer or an experienced boater, our unique one-to-one service will give you an opportunity to ask those niggling questions on equipment or emergency procedures that you have always wanted to ask.

Is Advice on Board definitely FREE?

Absolutely, the RNLI believe that prevention is better than cure and we want make sure that everyone receives the right advice. So, the whole Advice on Board session including any phone calls or email is totally free!

lifejackets RNLI adviceonboard thanetcommunitysafety seasafety lifejacketclinic

Useful links:

How to book an RNLI Advice on Board session

How to book an RNLI Lifejacket clinic

Man over Board (MOB) drills

Sign up for our monthly newsletter

Contact our RNLI Community Safety team today for a no obligation chat about an ‘Advice on Board’ via email : Andrew_Mills@RNLI.org.uk

Lifejackets – Which One Should You Buy?

The RNLI indicates “Each year around 200 people drown in coastal waters around UK and Southern Ireland, some of which happen to people who are carrying out water based activity.

Research suggests that wearing a lifejacket can increase your chances of survival by up to four times if you’re immersed in cold water.* Whatever your activity, wearing a well-fitted, well-maintained and suitable lifejacket or buoyancy aid could save your life”.

Source* Professor Mike Tipton 2012.

 

We are often asked at shows and events “which lifejacket could you recommend?” Our reply is always, “we don’t recommend any particular lifejacket as we don’t know what the type of water activity that you will use it for eg yachting, power boating, kayacking, dingy sailing etc,  everyone is individual and one size definitely doesn’t fit all!”. One of our pieces of advice is that you must be comfortable wearing it.

Our team runs lifejacket clinics throughout the year at local yacht clubs, marina’s and harbours.  If you would like us to run one for you or your club please drop us an email : Andrew_Mills@RNLI.org.uk

lifejacketclinic lifejacket RNLICommunitysafety RNLIwatersafety RNLIseasafety Yatching sailing motorboating kayacking powerwatercraft Personalfloataiondevice PFD

Here are some of the top tips that you could carry out to ensure your lifejacket is fit for purpose (please note: these checks are not a substitute for a proper service at a service agent or recognised manufacturer)

 

  1. Inspect the outside of the jacket for wear and tear. Take a detailed look at the cover for any damage, webbing, harnesses, crotch straps, sizing and fit
  2. Even if it is a jacket with an inspection window, undoe the lifejacket at the point next to the inflator.
  3. Check the gas cylinder is hand tight, or if it’s a bayonet type, is it firmly locked in position.
  4. If the lifejacket is new to you, remove the cylinder and check it has not been fired.
  5. Replace the cylinder if required.
  6. Look for the green coloured indicators on the trigger and if fitted, on the automatic firing system.
  7. Keep spare cyclinders and replacement parts for the automatic firing system on hand. So, that the jacket can be re-armed. Or, keep a spare jacket for each person onboard. The replacement parts are relatively inexpensive to purchase. Don’t forget jackets for your dog(s) if you take them on a voyage!
  8. Get the jacket serviced at the manufacturer’s recommended intervals.  This is highly recommended.
  9. Undertake a thorough inspection of each and every lifejacket at least once a year – more often if the lifejacket is used frequently.
  10. Conduct an inflation test of the bladder annually. Inflate the bladder through the oral inflation tube via a low pressure air pump or simply blowing into the tube. Leave inflated for at least 24 hours in a termperature stable environment to check the bladders integrity.

Useful links :

The RNLI’s complete guide to lifejackets

How to choose a lifejacket and maintain it – RNLI

Andling and fishing safety Advice – RNLI

Lifejackets Useless Unless Worn – Thanet RNLI CS

Lifejacket Clinic Sends Out Massive Safety Message

How to book a free RNLI lifejacket clinic