Water Safety Advice During Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak

(Please note that this blog was published before the government lock-down was announced and our advice is to stay home to save lives, not to use the sea for recreation or exercise and not travel to the coast exercise locally).

You will all be aware of the requirement stipulated by the government about keeping more than 2 metres from other people when out and about; and avoiding non-essential contact with others particularly if you are from one of the vulnerable or at risk groups.


As you will know the lovely coastal areas and beaches can present their own risks and dangers. Lifeboat crews and Coastguard Rescue Teams are regularly called to people who have put themselves in danger.  Even during the COVID-19 outbreak RNLI Lifeboat crews, Lifeboat Maintenance Engineers and HM Coastguard Rescue Teams remain on-call and operational for call-outs 24/7.

You maybe a sailor, motor boater, off-shore angler, commercial fishermen, paddle boarder, dog walker, kayaker or canoeist, surfer, open water swimmer or just enjoy a stroll along the beach.

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The RNLI and HM Coastguard instructions are not to use the sea to exercise or recreation during the lock-down. Using the sea during this time would mean you taking unncessary risks to yourself and others which could put pressure unnecessarily on front line search and rescue services.


Here is a guide to some of the RNLI’s safety tips if you live at the coast and are going to stretch your legs.

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1.  Take care when walking near to cliff edges  – know your route and don’t take short cuts when the day light starts to dwindle

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2.  Check tide times and weather conditions before you set out

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3.  Tell someone where you are going (route plan) and the latest time that you are expected to return. This will give Search and Rescue Services a start if they need to initiate a search plan.  Why not download the free SafeTrx App or What3Words?

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4.  Wear the correct clothing for a coastal stroll as weather can change quickly

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5.  Carry a means of ‘calling for help’ such as a fully charged mobile phone in a water proof case.

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6.  Be aware of the conditions, check via a weather app.

respectthewater RLSS coldwatershock RNLI7.  If you hear or see an animal or person in the water in difficulty, don’t enter the water dial ‘999’ or ‘112’ and ask for the Coastguard straight away.  Try to throw something that floats to the person in the water, but not to put yourself at risk in doing so. Some coastal areas and rivers have lifebouys or throw line bags for use in the emergency.  For any inland water rescue ask for the Fire Service.

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8.   If you do find yourself in the water in difficulty follow the RNLI’s ‘float to Live’ safety drill and float on your back until you can get your breath back and call for help. Over half the people that drown never intended to end up in the water.

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9.  Always pay attention to local safety advice signs and heed the advice at all times.  Tides can easily creep up on your particularly when you are engrossed in something else.

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Thank you everyone and from all of our Community Safety Team stay safe!

Other useful references

Five things that you shouldn’t ignore about RNLI dog rescue’s

The top 10 lifejacket checks that could help save your life

Have you downloaded the ‘What3Words’ app yet?

RNLI Safety

Coastguard RNLI ThanetRNLICommunitysafety NMOC
National Maritime Operation’s Centre (NMOC)



HM Coastguard