Thanet RNLI Community Safety

Is It a Legal Requirement To Wear Lifejackets?

In the UK there isn’t a legal requirement for leisure boaters wear a lifejacket.  However, in Ireland the law requires that appropriate personal floatation devices (PFD’s) are carried on all leisure craft for each member of the crew/passengers; when a vessel is under 7 metres PFD’s must be worn; and people under 16 years of age must wear a PFD’s when on an open vessel or on deck, no matter what size the vessel is.  As of 2019, the law states that it is mandatory for all UK and Irish commercial fishermen to wear a PFD on an open deck (unless there is a risk assessment in force that shows they cannot fall overboard).

RNLILifejacketclinic communitysafety RNLICommunitySafety Lifeboats, Seasafety WaterSafety

Our team run lifejacket clinic’s from time to time at yacht clubs, lifeboat stations and harbours. If you are interested in getting your lifejacket checked by a qualified member of our team please drop us an email: Andrew_Mills@RNLI.org.uk (Please note: An inspection by an RNLI Community Safety Adviser is not the equivalent of a lifejacket service. Lifejackets should be serviced by an approved service agent).

lifejackets communitysafety seasafety watersafety lifeboats RNLI thanet margate ramsgate broadstairs kent coastalsafety lifejacketclinic

Want to find out more information on lifejackets?

Lifejackets – useless unless worn

Anglers and lifejackets

When was the last time you checked your lifejacket?

RNLI – lifejackets

Acknowledgements

RNLI

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

 

 

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.
Lifejackets, useless unless worn!

 

This blog post is all about urging all water activity users to wear lifejackets or personal bouyancy aids.  You may have read about the rescue recently undertaken by Whitstable’s Inshore Lifeboat, with the help of Margate’s All Weather Lifeboat.  The full report of the rescue can be found by visiting Whitstable Station’s website page.

The two gentlemen who were rescued by the Inshore Lifeboat crew had been in the water for two and a half hours, hanging onto their up-turned craft. Luckily, the position of the dingy was easily found thanks to a passing yacht.  It is imperative to wear a lifejacket whenever you go out onto the water and carry a means of calling for help. You can find out all sorts of top-tips on how to look after your lifejacket by checking out one of our previous blog posts or going to the RNLI website.  RNLI Community Safety teams around the coast run lifejacket clinics, to check over jackets and to advise sailers/yatchtsmen/anglers on whether they need attention or maintenance.

If you are wondering whether your lifejacket is ok to use, then why not have a look at this top tips blog. If you are still unsure then pop our team a quick message and we will be happy to advise. In the case of the two gentlemen rescued recently, they were very lucky. On another day, with no passing craft and more severe weather conditions the outcome could have been a whole lot worse. So, if you are an angler, yachtsmen/women, sailer, kaycker, canoeist or fishermen please wear your lifejacket when you are on the water and carry a means of calling for help. You should be checking your lifejacket at least once a year, by following our top tips check list. If you are unsure there are a whole host of companies that will service your lifejacket for you.

More information on calling for help devices for kayckers

How to Call for Help

Float Not Swim – RNLI campaign

Volvo Ocean Race Cardiff

RNLI Safety stand at the Volvo Ocean village, Cardiff Bay

Apologies for not posting last week, but I was over in the lovely city of Cardiff. You may wonder how an RNLI Community Safety Officer covering East Kent ended up in Cardiff?  Well, Cardiff was the venue for Volvo Ocean Race. This race fleet started last October from Alicante in Spain on a race around the world, taking in 12 cities. For the very first time in its history the race stopped off in Cardiff between 27th May to 10th June. This year, Wales is celebrating the Year of the Sea – the RNLI were selected as host city community partners for the Cardiff stopover. That is where I came in, by volunteering to help staff the RNLI stand in the ocean village in Cardiff Bay, to share our key safety messages amongst sailers and other visitors.

Mapfre -Spanish team boat returning to Cardiff Bay

It was great to meet lots of visitors to chat to about the RNLI’s safety tips. Find out more about sailing top tips by visiting this link. It was also fabulous to meet the awesome RNLI volunteers and staff from across the UK, putting faces to names who I had corresponded with via email or chatted to on social media. It was an absolute privilege and I am very proud to be involved in such an event and I can’t wait for the next opportunity to represent the RNLI.

Guests of Helly Hansen being briefed prior to their trip round a Tamar All Weather Lifeboat

My top 6 links about the exciting Ocean Volvo race:

  1.  Volvo Ocean Race Cardiff
  2.  Turn The Tide On Plastic – find out more about Dee Caffari’s race crew and how this veteran world sailer is launching a campaing to Turn the Tide on Plastic.
  3.  Dee Caffari website
  4.  RNLI Magazine article on the Volvo Ocean event
  5.  Follow the latest daily digest on the Ocean Volvo race news
  6.  Keep abreast of the action by following the Ocean Volvo race tracker

Sky Ocean Plastic giant whale

Sky Ocean Plastic #PassOnplastic

 

 

 

 

Lifejacket Clinic – sends out massive safety message

 

On Sunday, myself and one of our Community Safety Advisors ran a lifejacket clinic, hosted by the Royal Temple Yacht Club, Ramsgate. The clinic was set up to check sailors lifejackets prior to the start of the sailing season.  We were kept pretty busy, checking 72 lifejackets in total, unfortunately 41 failed the basic quality checks. The failures ranged from rusty and corroded cannisters, lose or missing cylinders, out of date firing mechanisms to name a few.  Our clinic made the Ramsgate RNLI website and Margate RNLI Facebook page highlighting the need to check your lifejacket and get it properly maintained on a regular basis. Have a look at my previous blog post on lifejacket top tips.

One lifejacket that was found to be totally unusable

The photo above shows one of the lifejackets that failed the checks

Thanks to the Royal Temple Yacht Club Commodore, staff and members for hosting the event and for making us feel very welcome. Thanks also to Keith Friar for sending us the demonstration defunct lifejackets.

Lifejackets are probably the most important piece of lifesaving kit that a sailor, fishermen or sea sports enthusiast could possibly own and or use. They are useless unless worn and also useless unless properly maintained and looked after.

More information on how to choose the right lifejacket and look after it properly can be found via the RNLI website

Anglers & lifejackets

I was saddened, to hear over the weekend of the death of the angler who had been out fishing off rocks, as part of a group, at Barras Nose, Tintagel. Pirate FM reported that the gentlemen had been in the sea for 40 minutes before he was rescued by the Port Issac RNLI crew and taken to Derriford hospital where unfortunately he could not be saved.  My heartfell condolescences to the man’s family and friends. Absolutely, devastating for all those rescue crews involved too. The full report from Pirate FM is available here.

Respectthewater RNLIwatersafety RNLIcommunitysafety margatelifeboat Ramsgatelifeboat Thanetlifeguards RNLicallingforhelp Lifejackets margate broadstairs ramsgate margatelifeguard
The scene at Barras Nose, Tintagel: Pam Brophy

As the CoastSafe campaign led by Devon and Cornwall Police tweeted at the time: anglers need to change their mindset and start wearing personal floation devices (lifejackets) all the time when they are fishing. This is regardless of whether they are fishing out at sea from a boat or off the rocks.  The lifejacket poem below, which I am sure you will agree is absolutely spot on with the key message “Please Put Me On”.

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Lifejacket poem

The video below is made by the RNLI featuring Colm Plunkett, who incidentally is now an RNLI Community Safety Volunteer. It is a really powerful video which hits home the lifejacket message and the need to have a plan. The RNLI display stand at the recent ‘Ireland Angling exhibition’, carried the slogan ‘Expect The Unexpected’ – it’s definitely worth seriously considering!

Grab these 6 top tips for Shore Anglers to stay safe:

  1.   Never turn your back on the sea
  2.   Wear a lifejacket
  3.   Wear appropriate clothing & footwear
  4.   Check the weather, tides aand sea state
  5.   Tell someone where you are going and when you will be back
  6.   Carry an appropriate means of calling for help

RNLIwatersafety RNLIcommunitysafety Margatelifeboat Ramsgatelifeboat Thanetlifeguards anglers callingfforhelp ICOM margatecoastguard

Plus, 6 top tips for boat Anglers to stay safe:

  1.    Wear a lifejacket
  2.    Check the weather, tides and sea state
  3.    Tell someone where you are going
  4.    Carry an appropriate means of calling for help – VHF radio, handheld flare
  5.    Wear appropriate clothing and footwear
  6.    Keep your boats, engines and equipment well maintained.

Whichever angling you like to get involved in, please heed the safety advice. Thank you for reading my blog.  More advice on how to stay safe whilst angling can be found here.

Full acknowledgements to Pirate FM, RNLI, Colm Plunkett, CoastSafe Campaign & Pam Brothy.