Thanet RNLI Community Safety

As The Clocks Go Back This Weekend And Darker Nights Are Once Again Upon Us- Are You Winter Water Aware?

We hope that you are looking forward to making the most of that extra hour in bed after the clocks went back marking the end of BST (British Summer Time) and reverting to GMT (Greenwich Mean Time).   Of course that extra hour in bed in the morning results in the evenings getting darker earlier.

lockdown covid19 margatelifeboat ramsgatelifeboat margatecoastguard broadstairs walking running clocksgoback GMT

Walking, running or cycling home in the dark after a night out or a long shift you may decide to take a short cut to get home quicker which takes you close to open water.

Winterwatersafety RLSS NFCC Walkersandrunners watersafety RNLIWatersafety RNLICommunitysafety Margatelifeboat Ramsgatelifeboat Thanetlifeguards

Make sure you take care when walking past open water as what appears to be straight forward in the light can be totally confusing in the dark.  Walkers and runners have the highest incidence of accidental drowning year on year.

COVID19 Coronavirus Respectthewater communitysafety tidetimes

The RLSS (Royal Lifesaving Society) indicate that from 2012-2016, 300 people unnecessarily lost their lives to drowning in the UK whilst running or walking by the water – that’s an average of 60 lives lost per year.   An additional 35 people per year drowned while walking home intoxicated.  Thirty nine percent of those accidental drownings took place at the coast, twenty five percent at a river and eleven percent at a canal.

 

Here are some top tips to help keep you safe whilst out walking or running during the winter months:

watersafetyrespectthewater RNLI lifeboats drowningprevention

  • Be aware of your surroundings and take notice of any warning signs when out and about
  • When running or walking next to open water, stay well clear of bank edges and keep to paths
  • Always try and walk or run with a friend
  • Let someone know where you are going and what time you will be back
  • Carry a means of ‘calling for help’ such as a fully charged mobile phone in a waterproof case.
  • If you are at the coast check out the tide times and weather before you head out of the door
  • If you end up in the water float on your back rather than trying to swim
  • If you hear or see an animal or person in difficulty in the water, don’t enter the water dial ‘999’ ask for the Coastguard at the coast or on the River Thames; and for all other inland waterways ask for the Fire Service

 

matesmatter RNLI dontdrinkandddrown RLSS Avonfireandrescueservice

Mates Matter

Avon Fire and Rescue Service have highlighted the Stay Safe Around Water message by using the social media #MatesMatter and encouraging the sports team mantra of looking after the team.  Our advice is to always check your mates have got home safely by messaging or phoning them. Your phone call could just save their life.

 

John Homer RNLI Community Safety Adviser says “winter time is still a great time to visit the coast, we have 19 miles of coastline in Thanet to explore, but taking a few precautions can really help prevent putting yourself and others in danger. Stay safe”.

accidentaldrowning RLSS drowning pools reserviors rivers streams lakes quarries

Other useful links

Runners and Walkers identified as high risk of accidental drowning year on year in UK

Sea Safety During Stormy Weather Conditions

Sign-up to our e-newsletter

 

Acknowledgements

Avon Fire and Rescue Service

National Fire Chief’s Council

RLSS

RNLI

Do You Like To Cool Off In Open Water During Hot Weather? How To Spot The Hazards.

 

Let’s face it when the temperatures rise and we struggle to cool down, the thoughts of a nice cooling dip with friends in a river, canal, lake, reservoir or quarry is very tempting.

Let’s start off by looking at the dangers of open water swimming in reservoir’s below:

United Utilities Youtube Video on the dangers of swimming in reservoirs

The Royal Lifesaving Society (RLSS) have highlighted some of the dangers of open-water swimming below:

  • Height – at which you jump into the water – sometimes called tombstoning
  • The Depth of the water – can change depending on the season and is unpredictable
  • Submerged objects – may not be visible such as rocks, vegetation, rubbish thrown into the water such as shopping trolley’s and pedal cycles
  • Obstacles – people using the the waterway such as anglers, swimmers or kayackers
  • Lack of safety equipment – as well as the increased difficulty to carry out a rescue eg remote location, increased hazards, no mobile phone signal or no lifeguards
  • Cold water shock – will make swimming very challenging and increase the difficulty in someone getting out of the water
  • Strong currents – can sweep even the strongest swimmers away
  • River beds – unlike swimming pools, are uneven and vary in depth
  • Water quality varies – can be subject to industrial and agricultural pollution.

With careful organisation and planning ahead the risks detailed above can be controlled.

The following video made by the RLSS tells the story of families who have sadly lost their loved ones in drowning incidents. Please have a watch.

Beneath the Surface – the families’ stories

Thank you for reading and we hope this article has helped you understand the dangers of swimming in open water. More useful links can be found below:

Sign up to our monthly newsletter to find out more about our lifesaving work

‘Doing It For Dylan’ – Becky Ramsey’s inspiring campaign to share drowning prevention messages after her son tragically lost his life to drowning

Canal and River Trust Safety Information

RLSS Drowning Prevention Week

East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service – Open Water Safety Swimming Advice

United Utilities Safety advice – Reservoir Safety Advice

Full acknowledgements to the RLSS, United Utilities; RNLI, Canal and Rivert Trust for the use of material

Fantastic Coastal Safety Engagement Session At Gravesend Gurdwara
Community Safety Stand at Gravesend Gurdwara

On Sunday our team worked in partnership with the great Gravesend RNLI Community Safety Team holding a joint Coastal Safety/Respect The Water stall at the fabulous Guru Nak Darbar Gurdwara Gravesend  (Sikh Temple, Gurdwara means door to a new beginning). One of the objectives of the session was to revise and refresh the communities knowledge on our key safety messages: float not swim, calling for help whilst at the coast, tidal cut-off’s and beach safety amongst others ahead of the start of the school Summer holiday.  Through recent research a significant number of the Gravesend community enjoy days out and holidays down on the Kent coast.

Engagement with our communities is key to helping people get more out of their time at the coast and staying safer

We really enjoyed chatting to the Gurdwara worshippers and visitors, amongst the subjects that cropped up for discussion: the recent tidal cut-off’s at Botany Bay, the safest beach to visit in Thanet, how to avoid getting stuck in the mud on the Gravesend foreshore, becoming a lifeguard, beach safety and how to survive falling into water.

If you haven’t ever visited the Gravesend Gurdwara before then it is definitely worth a visit if you find yourself in the area and have time to spare. More info via the excellent Visit Kent website.

Thank you to our lovely hosts for making our teams feel very welcome!

Our Top 5 weblinks for staying safe whilst at the coast or on the River Thames

Gravesend RNLI Station

Float Not Swim – RNLI website

Beach and coast safety – HM Coastguard

River Thames Safety – Port of London authority

River Thames Conditions – Environmental Agency