Thanet RNLI Community Safety

Kitesurfing – Find Out How To Have A Safe, But Enjoyable Time 

Kitesurfing is arguably one of the most exciting and adrenaline fuelled sports you can do on the water.  But, staying safe is the most crucial part in having a fabulous time.  This blog explores some of the basic safety aspects of kitesurfing.

 

What is Kitesurfing?

Kitesurfing also known as kiteboarding (combining aspects of wakeboarding, snow boarding, windsurfing, surfing, paragliding and skateboarding) is a wind-powered water sport utilising a kite and a board to help propel you across water.  Despite the name, it doesn’t have to involve wave surfing kitesurfing can be done on flat expanses of water, as well as in choppy sea or in big waves. All you need is water and wind.  Dependant on the strength of the wind and size of rider various sizes of kites are available.

UK and Irish waters are incredibly unpredictable and one of the biggest risks which kitesurfers face is kiting alone or in adverse weather conditions.

RNLI lifeboat crews launched 99 times to kitesurfers in trouble in 2015.  Out of these call-outs the majority were down to adverse conditions and kit failure.  RNLI Lifeguards were called to deal with 54 kitesurfing related incidents in 2015.

 

Following some simple steps to stay safe will reduce your chances of getting into difficulty and also help you gain the most out of this fabulous sport.

Kitesurfing Safety Hacks

  1.  Always kite with another person
  2.  If you do go alone, take a protected means of ‘calling for help’ such as a fully charged mobile phone, VHF radio and or Personal Locator Beacon (registered to you) which is easily accessible at all times.

 

3.  Tell someone where you are kiting and the latest time that you will return.  Consider downloading the free to use SafeTrx app on your smart device registering yourself as the vessel. This                   will help the Coastguard and lifeboat locate you quickly should things go wrong.

4.  Never ride out further than you can swim back.

5.  Have a plan should your equipment fail, practise your drills regularly.

 

6.  Prior to kiting check the weather, tides and swell forecasts.  Popular swell forecast websites and app’s include: Windfinder, Wind Guru and Magic Seaweed. When talking about checking                   the swell always consider: Wave height, Swell direction and Power of the waves. 

7.  Always kite within your capability, don’t go out in conditions which you can’t handle.  If the conditions are on the edge of your ability wait until a day where you can easily kite.

 

8.  If you are a new comer to the sport or haven’t been kiting for a while grab some coaching sessions from a recognised/approved instructor or club.  Follow safety advice from the British Kitesports Association and other registered clubs.

If you are learning overseas, make sure that you can communicate easily with your instructor.  Never be afraid to ask about the kit you will be using. Learning with new equipment in excellent condition is ideal, beginners should always be given personal flotation devices (PFD) and helmets as standard.

 

9.   Check what size of kite other riders are using.  If you don’t have the correct size don’t go out.

10.  Wear the right kit for the job eg wetsuit, helmet, buoyancy aid, boots whilst on the water.  Long sleeved top/trousers, helmet, knee/elbow pads, back protection and strong footwear for land based activity.

 

11.   Observe kitesport zones – Please observe local regulations and if you are unsure ask other riders, beach users or local beach/coastal officials.

12.   If you are asking someone to assist you in launching or landing provide some training to help them carry out the procedures.  Don’t ask anyone to help/land who isn’t familiar with kites.

 

13.   Check out the latest government advice for the area where you will be operating to ensure you comply with the latest COVID-19 pandemic regulations.

 

Andy Mills (Thanet RNLI Community Safety Team) says “Our team want people to enjoy themselves kitesurfing at the coast by making sure their visit is one to remember and not one they would rather forget. Taking some simple precautions and having a plan should things go wrong will help hugely in keeping people safe.”

Other useful links

Kitesurfing and Minnis Bay Sailing Club Visit

Sign-up to your newsletter

Ramsgate Lifeboat

Margate Lifeboat

 

Acknowledgements

British Kitesports Association

Royal National Lifeboat Institution

HM Coastguard

Kent Pirates

Six things to do at the East Kent coast

OUR TOP SIX THINGS TO DO THIS AUTUMN IN EAST KENT

Autumn time at the East Kent coast is such a wonderous time to visit, what with the lovely Turner skies, dramatic sea conditions and fabulous scenery.  Enjoy the deserted beaches, avoid the queues and congestion usually associated with the Summer months allowing you to wonder around the harbours and towns with ease.

Our team have come up with their top 6 things to do in East Kent during the autumnal months…

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1. Visit the Beach – No trip to East Kent is complete without a trip to the beach. East Kent has so many lovely sandy beaches to choose from sixteen in fact!  Even if the tide is in Margate Main Sands is a great beach to visit being only a few minutes from the Old Town where there is plenty to keep you occupied.  Viking Bay, Broadstairs still has that quintessential British seaside town feel, whilst Ramsgate beach is a short walk from the picturesque harbour.

communitysafety rnli thanet kent beaches autumnwalks coastguard safety water

2.  Sample the fine food – Thanet has a plentiful array of restaurants and eateries to suit every taste and budget. Whether it’s something convenient overlooking the harbours of Broadstairs, Margate or Ramsgate, a venue tucked away up a side street or off the main drag.  There is definitely something for everyone and one of our teams favourite’s is Bachelor’s Patissere on Northdown Road who are a big supporter of the RNLI and emergency services.

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3.  Walk the Thanet coastal trial – the Thanet coastal trial starting at Reculver and finishing at Pegwell Bay is a fabulous walking route which makes it way across sandy beaches, sweeping bay and chalk cliff’s. More information on Thanet Coastal Trial

lifeboatshops RNLI visitthanet visitkent visitEngland Ramsgate communitysafety

4.  Visit a Lifeboat Station Shop – each lifeboat station has it’s very own souvenir shop helping to raise much needed funds enabling the RNLI to maintain it’s lfesaving work. Margate RNLI station’s shop is attached to their station Tel 01843-221-613, whilst Ramsgate’s is situated in The Custom House, Harbour Parade Tel 01843-598-754 (what3words ///skills.pets.dices) Particularly, during the winter month’s it is advisable to phone inadvance to check the opening times as they can vary.

bikehire thanet kent visitthanet visitkent lifeboats cyclehire

5.  Cycling – If you want to explore the great coastal paths and grab some exercise at the same time, why not get on your bike for that unforgettable experience.  The 32 mile (51.4 km) coastal trial can be broken up with pit stops at the numerous eateries, cafes and restaurants dotted across the coast.

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Dreamland at night – photo credit : Visit Thanet

6.  Discover some top family atttractions – Whether your bringing your children or just fancy a day out Thanet has got some top attractions that are open all year round.  Dreamland is an amusement park and entertainment centre based on a traditional English seaside funfair.  The newly opened Margate caves is also a very worthwhile place to visit, originally dug as a chalk mine in the 18th century.

 

Other useful links

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

Do you know how to check the tide times?

Coastal walking is such a fabulous hobby – know how to stay safe

Visit Thanet – tourist information

Ramsgate RNLI

Margate RNLI

 

Acknowledgements

RNLI

HM Coastguard

Visit Thanet

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!
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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.
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’.