Storm Darcy has been named by the Dutch Met Office KNMI and is set to bring strong winds and heavy snow to south east England late on Saturday and on Sunday, with this weather easing through Monday. The Met Office have issued their own weather warnings for the UK from Friday 5th February.
RNLI Lifeboats have faced a summer like now other with statistics revealing a huge increase in the number of people (water users***) requiring assistance by local lifeboat crews compared to the year 2019.
Lifeboat stations see increase in call-outs
Based on incident reports (provisional)** submitted by RNLI lifeboat stations around the UK and Ireland, there was a 64% increase in the number of recreational water users assisted by the RNLI. After every emergency call-out an incident return has to be submitted by the station detailing what the incident was about, the location, action taken etc).
Lifeguards reported increase in beach visitor numbers
Lifeguards also reported seeing a significant increase in the number of visitors to beaches around the coast. RNLI lifeguards working on two beaches in Thanet carried out an unprecedented number of rescues -including 24 people rescued in a single day at Ramsgate Main Beach and carrying out a successful CPR on a six year old girl who had collapsed and stopped breathing at Botany Bay.
The Lifeguards also rescued a man in his 50’s at Botany Bay who was out of his depth and being hit against the chalk sea stack to the west of the beach.
On Friday, 31st RNLI lifeguards Neil Morgan (member of our Community Safety Team & Ramsgate Lifeboat crew) and Chris Wilson, patrolling on Ramsgate Main Beach, had to rescue 24 people who were in danger of being swept out to sea by rip currents.
Those rescued included children, adults and the elderly. In one incident, lifeguard Neil Morgan had to dive into the water with his rescue tube after spotting two children who had been caught in a rip current and were being swept towards the harbour entrance. Neil and Chris also escorted a further six children to safety.
In another incident lifeguards took to a rescue ATV (quad bike) to get close to a group of swimmers who were in danger and close to the harbour entrance and persuaded them to come to shore for their safety.
HM Coastguard reported the day as having the highest number of call-outs in four years.
The statistics include people who got into trouble whilst :
Biggest Increase this Summer in incidents involving inflatables
In the South East of England which includes covering 31 lifeboat stations stretching from the Thames to Swanage, saw the biggest increase the summer 2020 (June to August) in incidents involving inflatables.
During 2019 lifeboat stations in the South East launched 20 times to people in difficulty with inflatables and 26 people were helped. In 2020 there were 37 launches and 89 people aided – a 242.3% increase.
The second biggest increase was lifeboat launches to waterside activities which includes:
In 2019 RNLI lifeboats in the South East launched 10 times to these types of incidents and helped nine people, in 2020 there were 14 launches and 28 people helped – an increase of 211.1%.
The growing popularity of paddle boarding during 2020 is also reflected in the figures. In 2019 the South East’s lifeboats launched eight times and four paddle boarders were assisted. In 2020 the number of launches increased to 12 with 12 people also assisted by crews.
Inflatables are not designed for the coast!
The South East RNLI Water Safety Lead Guy Addington, said “the figures highlighted the dangers inflatables can pose at the coast and urged people to leave them at home in the future:
“Inflatables can be great fun, but they are not designed for the beach as it’s easy to get swept out to sea,’ As these figures demonstrate, inflatables are one of the most common reasons our lifeboat crews are called to action during the summer months”.
‘They are particularly dangerous when there are strong offshore winds and there were a number of incidents around the South East this summer where people, in some cases children, suddenly found themselves being swept hundreds of metres offshore. Were it not for our lifeboat crews responding so quickly some of these incidents could easily have resulted in a tragedy. The best place to enjoy inflatables is in an enclosed area such as a swimming pool”.
As the light faded, time was of the essence and with a police helicopter hovering overhead as a marker, the lifeboat was on the scene in 12 minutes and rescued the pair who by that time had become separated from their inflatable. They were cold and distressed and had been in the water for 40 minutes.
On the same day the crew also rescued a seven-year-old girl spotted drifting out to sea on an inflatable lollipop and an 11-year-old on an inflatable dinghy.
Margate & Ramsgate Lifeboats are often called out incidents involving inflatables
Both Margate and Ramsgate lifeboats are also often called to incidents involving inflatables during the summer months, several of which turn out to be beach toys drifting out to sea. Both stations were kept busy during lockdown 1.0 with some days seeing their respective crew pagers going off more than once in a 24 hour period.
‘This is the other big concern with inflatable beach toys,’ explained Guy. ‘Often lifeboat crews are launched to inflatables drifting out to sea because of fears there could be people in the water. Extensive searches are often carried out only to discover the toys have been blown off the beach. This could mean the lifeboat crew are unable to respond to other, perhaps more serious, incidents”.
“With Christmas just a month away we’d urge anyone considering buying their loved one an inflatable to put safety first and make it clear it’s not to be used on the coast,” he added.
The RNLI’s Head of Water Safety, Gareth Morrison, said: ‘Our volunteer crews have been on call throughout the pandemic. This year, they faced a summer like no other.
‘When lockdown restrictions eased, we saw people flock to the beaches to enjoy our coastlines instead of holidaying abroad. But that resulted in a huge number of people getting into difficulty around our coasts, with our lifesavers facing an incredibly busy summer.
‘If you find yourself in trouble at the coast this winter, call ‘999’ and ask for the Coastguard.’
Personal protective Equipment – COVID-19
The RNLI has spent £1.2M on personal protective equipment this year to help keep its volunteers and lifeguards and the public safe during COVID-19, including almost 700,000 face masks, 2.4 million gloves and 4,700 litres of hand sanitiser. Unfortunately, due to COVID-19 risk assessments lifeboat fundraising events and shops have had to be cancelled and or shut (including Ramsgate and Margate’s fantastic fundraising teams).
RNLI Lifeboat Crews Still On-Call
RNLI Lifeboat crew have worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic to keep people safe as lockdown restrictions eased and people flocked to the coast. The RNLI relies on the support of the public to continue saving lives – and that support is needed now more than ever. The charity has launched its Christmas Appeal. Why not find out more how you can help the RNLI this Christmas. Thanks for reading and stay safe.
**The complete statistics for lifeguards and lifeboats will be available in early 2021.
*** Waterside activities include paddling up to the knees, wading up to the chest, beach combing, cockle, mussel picking (not commercial) cycling, driving (or parked in vehicle) horse-riding, metal detecting, playing games (non-competitive), relaxing and rock pooling.
The drier weather made a very welcome return on Sunday (20th October) helping to swell visitors to Thanet’s beaches. Our Community Safety team took advantage of the increase in coastal visitors by visiting Dumpton Gap and Ramsgate beaches to help share the coastal safety messages to dog walkers.
As well as reminding and refreshing dog wallkers about not to enter the water if their doggie goes for an extended swim or gets stuck in a perilious position on a cliff, the team spoke about:
carrying a calling for help device such as as fully charged mobile phone
checking the tides and weather before setting off on coastal walk
if going out on your own letting someone know where you are going and what time you will return
being aware of your surroundings at all times
take notice and heed local hazard warning signs
know to call the Coastguard if they hear or see an animal or person who they think maybe in difficulty in the water or at the coast
Our team would like to thank everyone for their time in stopping to chat and we hope you all enjoyed the rest of your walks! Also a big thank you to the RNLI HQ Poole team for delivering and supplying the new Dog Safety signs which went down really well on the beach!
Broadstairs Water Gala is such a magnificent event showcasing everything that is great about the British seaside including Punch and Judy, Teddy Bear Picnic, Sea Shanties, Walkabout characters to name a few. The programme of events is truly fantastic and is testamont to the hardwork and dedication of the volunteers and the organisations that help support the event year in year out. Since the 1970’s Ramsgate Lifeboats have also attended the event and the tradition has continued ever since.
Our Community Safety Team are always very happy to support community events and the Water Gala is no exception. We were also joined by the great fundraising team who raise much needed funds to help keep the RNLI carrying out it’s lifesaving work, the Education Team and Face 2 Face team. Both the Inshore and All Weather Lifeboats also moored up on the harbour, but unfortunately were unable to show visitors around the boat due to the sea being too rough.
Ramsgate Mayor Raushan Ara (centre) pictured with John Homer (left) and Ian Lockyer (right), beside our Community Safety Stand Water Gala Day
What was really interesting to note that the majority of young people we chatted to during the day had heard about the RNLI’s Float to Live lifesaving concept (float on your back if you fall into the water unexpectedly or get into difficulty). This was very poignant as two young people who had been swept out to sea on an inflatable earlier in the week off Foreness Point who had been rescued by lifeboat and lifeguards. The young people had been told about the ‘Float to Live’ drill only a couple of days before by one of the RNLI Face 2 Face teams and remembered it. This was really great to hear that the ‘Float to Live’ concept was used in a lifesaving situation by these young people.
Our Safety Selfie frame was put to good use with the Ramsgate RNLI Press Officer Karen Cox and the Ramsgate Mayor Raushan Ara.
A thoroughly valuable day supporting the magnificent Water Gala and at the same time sharing the key safety messages which will help keep the community and visitors safe at the coast.
On Sunday a member of our team was kindly invited to the Eid celebration at the fabulous Ramsgate Tandoori. This religious occasion, which means “Festival of Breaking the Fast,” is a key date in the Islamic calendar as it marks the end of Ramadan and its month-long fast. Usually celebrated over three days, Eid ul-Fitr using it’s full name sees Muslims enjoy a large meal following the fast period. The festival is also a time of foregiveness and making amends.
During this fantastic celebration which saw some great food on offer we were able to chat to guests about the RNLI’s Respect the Water campaign and how to ‘Float to Live’ if you fall into water unexpectedly. Thank you very much to Raushan for inviting us along, for the lovely food and for taking one of our Respect the Water campaign packs which is hugely appreciated.
Learn how to survive ‘cold water shock’ now by watching this video!
Our team will be supporting the Ramsgate RNLI Fundraisers Mayday Coffee Morning on Saturday 11th May 10:00am-1.00pm at Ramsgate Lifeboat Station. The coffee morning includes tours around the boathouse (subject to operational commitments) an RNLI Shop stand, bric-a-brac and of course tea/coffee and cake for just £2.50 a ticket which is all helping to fund the new lifeboat crew kit. Our team will be on hand to share water safety advice, lifejacket checks, learn the best way of ‘calling for help’ in an emergency and how to ‘float to live‘ plus lots more.
More information on the great work that the Ramsgate Fundraisers get up to can be found via this link to their facebook page.
The Easter Weekend is finally here and the weather forecast is looking pretty good across Kent with sunshine and high temperatures. On Saturday 20th April our Team deployed to Botany Bay with a Pop-Up Water Safety stand. The team really enjoyed chatting to lovely visitors to the beach about a whole host of safety messages including:
Lifeguards are not yet on duty on the beaches in East Kent, so it is important to heed the safety advice above. More information on how to stay safe whilst at the coast can be found either on the RNLI website or HM Coastguard site
We hope you enjoy your weekends and have a great time.
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.
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.
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
On Friday I enjoyed a visit over to Ramsgate RNLI station to meet with the new Lifeboat Press Officer, Karen Cox. As I have been in post for only 8 months, it was great to meet with Karen to exchange ideas, contacts and discuss how to spread the ‘Respect the Water’ message across our specialisms. You can follow Ramsgate RNLI via twitter, facebook or through their excellent website
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