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 These were out of date firing mechanisms, rusty or corroded gas cyclinders, decaying jackets which will have been left in damp conditions, already fired and missing cylinders.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

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

 

Calling For Help At the Coast – But which device should I get?

 

Carrying a fully charged mobile phone in a waterproof case can most of the time be sufficient on inland coastal activity

Whatever coastal activity or water sport that you are taking part in it is vitally important to carry a means of calling for help incase you or one of your party gets into difficulty.   This includes going for a walk with your lovely doggie or friends/family along the great coastline.   Everything including sailing off-shore, kackaying, climbing, diving, swimming or motor boating to name a few.  The ability to call for help quickly and get rescue services to you or the person/animal in difficulty can be the difference between living or dying.

If you do find yourself in difficulty, hear or see someone else or an animal in difficulty in the water or at the coast call ‘999’ or ‘112’ straight away and ask for the Coastguard.  If you are inland at a river, loch, canal, reservoir or lake then ring ‘999’ or ‘112’ and ask for the Fire Service again straight away.

To assist you with some of the calling for help devices which are available we have included anumber below (Image credit: RNLI)

The RNLI advises :

  • Smart phones can provide a location, but emergency calls should be made by voice (call 999 or 112 and ask for the Coastguard). Text messages and map locations are often no use to the Coastguard.
  • Even if your phone shows no service, try calling 999 or 112 anyway as in an emergency your phone will be able to use another phone network. Please note that with some devices, repeatedly pressing the power button can activate an emergency call with your location.
  • The RYA SafeTrx ap is available to download for free for use in notifying a specified contact if you are overdue from your trip. The Coastguard can also monitor and be kept informed.

 

Personal Locator Beacon (PLB)

These have recently come right down in price and retail at around £175.00.  They are now being used by all sorts of outdoor enthusiasts including walkers, climbers and mountain bikers.  The PLB needs to be registered to you (shouldn’t be loaned to friends), they will operate world-wide and you can rely on the Coastguard on picking up the signal immediately and your GPS location given to lifeboat and coastguard teams.   The PLB needs to be activated so the casualty will need to be conscious with the aerial pointing out of the water. One of our team carries one on his lifejacket permanently.

The VHF handheld VHF radio’s are now reasonable priced and available widely

The RNLI makes these points with regards VHF radio’s:

  • If possible, buy a DSC-equipped radio (some are not). A DSC distress alert is a recognised emergency signal, and it also transmits your location.
  • Send a distress alert followed by a mayday voice call on Channel 16. This communicates the distress message to all vessels and shore stations in range.
  • Requires an operator’s licence, a ship’s portable radio or ship’s radio licence (free in the UK if requested online) and a Maritime Mobile Service Identity (MMSI) number, which comes with the radio licence.

More useful links

How to call for help at Sea – RNLI

How to call the Coastgaurd

How to register or update your PLB or other UK 406MHZ beacon device

Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS)

HM Coastguard

Canoeing Safely – Canals and Rivers Trust

Kayacking and Canoeing Safety – RNLI

National Maritime Safety Week 1st – 9th July

 

What is National Maritime Safety Week?

Maritime Safety Week starts on Monday 1st July, but what is it all about?

On 31st May in a letter to the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport Nusrat Ghani MP (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State Department for Transport) wrote:

“the aim of Maritime Safety Week is to introduce a specific week targeted at safety issues which brings the industry together and provides a focus to highlight all the fantastic work that is already being done on a daily basis to ensure the safety of our seas and inland waterways”.  She added “All users of the maritime environment, from recreational mariners to casual beach goers, need to understand the risks. We recognise that these groups have very different safety needs and requirements and the scope of Maritime Safety Week is similarly broad”.

Ramsgate All Weather Trent Lifeboat “Esme Anderson” (14-02)

Picture credit: Sarah Hewes

What are we doing to support this week?

We will be sharing good practice throughout the week via social meda, looking at safety equipment such as lifejackets, calling for help devices and top tips to help keep you safe whilst on the water and support the RNLI 50% reduction in drownings by 2024.  Our team are also attending the Dover Marina weekend on Saturday 6th July to undertake a lifejacket clinic. So, stay tuned to find out more.

More useful links:

Maritime Safety Week – Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport

Maritime Safety – HM Coastguard – Keeping safe at the coast: lifejacket wear

Society of Maritime Industries – Maritime Safety Week

RNLI – Choose your activity

RNLI Drowning Prevention Strategy – Educate, Influence, Supervise and Rescue those at risk from drowning.