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

How Should You Treat A Weever Fish Sting?

Picture credit : RNLI Lifeguards

Weever fish are plain looking fish and are very common during the Summer months around the UK shore line. Often they nestle in the sand and in water just a few centimetres deep.  A weever fish will raise a sharp spine on it’s back in self defence if it is trodden upon.  Here are some top tips from our Lifeguard colleagues:

  • Place the effected area in water as hot as you can stand it for around 30 minutes. This will destroy the protein based venom and will allow you to continue your day at the beach. Test the water first so as not to scald the person who has been stung.
  • Whilst the stings are painful they are generally nothing to worry about and will not cause any significant damage

There are far greater risks and hazards associated with the coastal environments: the tides, water movement and the effects of cold water shock.

It is always recommended to visit a lifeguarded beach where trained lifeguards are available for advice for all things beach safety and first aid incase you are stung by a weever fish.

More useful information:

Where can I find my nearest lifeguarded beach?

Our blog about Cold Water Shock

How the RNLI keeps beaches safe

Discover more information about waves

Acknowledgements

RNLI Lifeguards

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

Inflatables aren’t designed for the beach!

With people flocking to the coast when the temperatures increase and weather improves the number of people being rescued from a wide range of inflatables increases such as unicorns, flamingo’s and inflatable boats.  Inflatables are not simply designed for the beach and it is easy to find yourself quickly swept out to sea.

The recent rescue of 5 year old girls at Minehead who had been swept one mile off shore

If you do choose to use an inflatable, the RNLI would like to remind people that:

  1.  They are only used near to the shore and between the red and yellow flags on a lifeguarded beach
  2.   Children are safely supervised at all times
  3.   Never take inflatables out in big waves
  4.   Never use them when the orange windsock is flying as this indicates an offshore wind which will  blow the inflatables out to sea
  5.   Whenever you take to the sea the RNLI recommends that you and your children wear a suitable lifejacket or buoyancy aid.  This will provide the necessary floatation should the inflatable suffer a puncture or similar.

One station in Hampshire in the Summer 2018 had to be called out to rescue four people from inflatables in trouble in just one day.

Find your nearest lifeguarded beach

How do the RNLI keep beaches safe

Find out how to stay safe at the coast

HM Coastguard inflatable safety advice

Acknowledgements to RNLI for the use of You Tube video and content

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.
Roundup of September’s Lifeboat calls in Thanet

So, apologies for the lack of blog entries recently, I’ve been pretty busy what with several RNLI community events, my day job and spending two days working at the Southampton Boat Show on the RNLI’s Safety stand which will be subject to another later blog.

I thought I would give an insight into the recent work of the isle’s lifeboats (Ramsgate and Margate). There has been quite few people flocking to the coast due largely to the warm weather that we have been experiencing. The fantastic lifeguards have now finished for the season and therefore we have been reminding everyone to be that extra special careful as there isn’t the extra layer of beach safety cover available.

Round-up of recent lifeboat calls:

Monday 17th September – Approx 10:00hrs Margate ILB rescued two persons in the water between Reculver and Minnis Bay. 2nd call of the day this time for Margate’s AWB to a vessel which had broken down North of Margate which was towed to Ramsgate Harbour.

Sunday 16th September – Ramsgate ILB launched to an inflatable containing children blowing off Broadstairs. The ILB successfully located the inflatable and and conveyed the children safely back to shore.

Wednesday 12th September – Ramsgate ILB launched to 2 kayakers in difficulty off the main beach. On scene the ILB found the Cross Atlantic rowing boat practicing and in no difficulty. 2nd call of the day again for the ILB launched to a report of 6 persons cut off by the tide at Stone Bay. Whilst the ILB was making its way to Stone Bay they received a message that the 6 persons had made their own way out of difficulty.

Monday 10th September 01:13hrs Ramsgate ILB launched at the request of UK Coastguard to a report of a person in the water behind Wetherspoons, in a state of distress. The ILB carried out a shoreline search until stood down by UK Coastguard, when the person was reported to be safely ashore.

Wednesday 5th September 08:33hrs Ramsgate’s AWB launched to a Personal Location Beacon (PLB) with a reported position near the Thanet Offshore Windfarm. AWB made its way to the reported position, but before arriving on scene to carry out a search, a Windfarm vessel that was in the area retrieved the PLB from the water.

Sunday 2nd September 20:37hrs Ramsgate’s ILB was launched to a person in the water behind Wetherspoons. On scene the ILB stood by whilst the person decided was spoken with by Emergency Services. The person eventually decided to make their own way back to shore, where a police officer was waiting.

Sunday 2nd September – Approx 0900hrs – Margate’s AWB was called out to assist with the tow of a yacht with engine failure 7 miles West of Margate and drifting into shallow water off Reculver Towers. The yacht was towed to the safety of Ramsgate harbour.

Saturday 1st September – 22:34hrs Ramsgate’s ILB launched to a report of a person in difficulty at Viking Bay. Whilst making their way to Viking Bay, person was located ashore and ILB stood-down.

Saturday 1st September – Margate’s ILB was launched to an 18’ angling dinghy with engine problems around three miles off Westgate-on-Sea. Vessel was towed to its launching site.

Full acknowledgements to Ramsgate and Margate RNLI stations for use of their Facebook posts. For more information check out the respective RNLI station Facebook pages.

Speedboat hits seawall!

On Thursday 12th July, at around 2.25pm HM Coastguard was alerted to an incident whereby two men had been thrown from a speedboat which then continued and hit the seawall at Minnis Bay, Margate. RNLI Lifeguards, Margate Inshore Lifeboat, Coastguard Rescue Team and Kent Police were called to the scene.  Lifeguards rescued two men from the water who had been wearing lifejackets, but not a killcord.

Above: Kill cord switch in action – there are numerous ones on the market
Tony Evans, HM Coastguard Maritime Operations Specialist said:  ‘These two men have had a very lucky escape.  Although they were wearing lifejackets, it would appear that they had a kill cord on the engine but neither of them were wearing it.  With a busy beach nearby, the circumstances could have been very different, or indeed tragic, if the vessel had not crashed into the wall.’
What is a killcord?
As the name suggests, is designed to kill your engine in the event of you going overboard. All owners and drivers of open powerboats, personal watercraft and RIBs should ensure that if their boat is fitted with a kill switch and kill cord, it is correctly used. On a powerboat the kill cord should be attached securely around the thigh and on a personal watercraft it should be attached to the buoyancy aid.
→Attach your kill cord before the engine is started, but certainly before the boat is put in gear where safe to do so. Stop the engine before transferring the kill cord to another driver.
→Always check your kill cord works at the start of each day or session and remember to replace it when there are signs of ageing, or wear and tear or it starts to lose spiral tension. When replacing kill cords, buy the manufacturers genuine replacement kill cords.
→Do not leave kill cords out in the elements. Extremes of temperature and UV light will harm the kill cord in the long term.
More helpful advice on how to stay safe whilst at the coast
HM Coastguard blog on the Margate speedboat incident
Acknowledgements to HM Coastguard and the RYA for the use of photo’s and technical advice.
Kite Surfing & Minnis Bay Sailing Club

Kent Pirates Kite Surfing Group

Over the past 7 days I have been out and about chatting to a couple of really great groups who both use the Thanet coastline for their fantastic activities. The first one being the Kent Pirates Kitesurfing School, who meet at Pegwell Bay. Kitesurfing is growing in popularity at the moment and is a really exhilarating one to learn. This group of kitesurfers were great to chat with and very keen on taking on-board the RNLI key safety messages for their hobby. After finishing my talk, several group members were carrying out their own Big Spring beach clean, which is a testamont to their commitment to helping the local environment and community. The Kitesurfing school recently ran some very popular free sessions for children during the Easter Holidays, backed by Ramsgate Town Council. 

RNLI 9 top key safety messages for kitesurfers are:

  • Always kite with another person.
  • If you go alone, take a means of calling or signalling for help.
  • Never ride out further than you can swim back.
  • Equipment failure does happen. Be prepared.
  • Check the conditions and tides. Don’t go out in conditions you can’t handle.
  • Check what sizes of kites other riders are using. If you do not have the correct size, do not go out.
  • Do not ask or allow someone who is not familiar with kites to help you launch or land – give them some training on how to do it.
  • Always tell someone you are going out and when you will be back.
  • Follow the safety advice from the governing body for kitesurfing, the BKSA, and other expert organisations.

More information on kitesurfing can be found here.

 

Minnis Bay Sailing Club members

My second visit involved delivering a dingy sailing safety talk to the brilliant Minnis Bay Sailing Club. The sailing club runs a very popular supper club for its members twice a month, also inviting along members of the co-hosted windsurfing club. It was to one of their superb supper club meetings I was invited along to.  Twenty five members attended the talk and were treated to me delivering one of the brand new ‘all singing, all dancing’ RNLI Community Safety talks which incorpoates eye catching and thought provoking video’s, infographics; and question and answer slides.  As well as chatting to the members, I was also able to hand out safety literature and the ever popular Respect the Water stickers.  It was a hugely enjoyable evening and I am very grateful to the Commodore and the Club members for hosting me.  Minnis bay Sailing Club are hosting one of the RYA ‘Push the Boat Out’ days on 19th May. These are a magnificant opportunity to try out sailing for free and to take a look around their club and meet it’s fantastic members. If you fancy having a go, then you must book before arriving on the day.

Further information on RNLI top tips on dingy sailing

Directions on how to find Minnis Bay Sailing Club

RYA ‘Push the Boat Out Day’.

Getting cut off by the tide!

Ramsgate’s Atlantic 85 Inshore Lifeboat

This blog highlight’s the importance of checking the tides before you embark on a lovely walk along the coastline. East Kent Lifeboat crews are regularly called out to persons getting cut-off by the tide at Dumpton Gap, close to Broadstairs.

Handing out doggie treats and safety leaflets at Dumpton Gap

Everyone enjoy’s a walk along the coast, taking in the sea air and spending time with their friends and loved one’s.  Here are just two examples of how lifeboat crews were called to people who were cut-off by the tide: a lady and her two daughters were cut-off by the tide and rescued by the crew of Ramsgate’s Inshore lifeboat (ILB) with Margate’s ILB who were on exercise at the time, who stood-by for support. The full report can be found via Ramsgate RNLI’s Facebook page.  The second incident took place when Ramsgate’s ILB was launched to a report of a lady and a dog cut off by the tide.  Arriving on scene, the lifeboat crew were informed via the Coastguard that the lady and her dog had managed to get ashore and were safe and well. The lady, a local person, also reportedly a strong swimmer reported that she had never seen the tide come in as fast before. Both incidents could have turned out much worse, we want everyone to enjoy their trip to the coast. Please share the important safety messages we have discussed in this blog and follow the top tips below:

Our top 5 tips on how to stay safe at the coast

    How to call the Coastguard

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Our Top 5 web links on how to stay safe whilst at the coast

    Ramsgate tides can be found here.

    Tide times twitter feeds

    More information on staying safe whilst at the coast via the RNLI website

    UK Coastguard safety information website

    UK Tides – mobile phone ap via UK Play for Android