Thanet RNLI Community Safety

Do You Enjoying Bodyboarding? Here’s How To Stay Safe

Bodyboarding is of the most popular board sports invented, with a reported 20 million surfers and bodyboarder’s across the world with the number on the increase.  Every bodyboarder has her/his own reasons for taking up the sport, however, the mixture of physical exercise, increase in wellbeing and mental health; being at one with nature; and getting a great dose of sunlight and sea air appear to be some of the the main benefits.   Numerous self-help groups across coastal area’s have sprung up using bodyboarding to combat mental health issues.

Margate Community Blue Light Day exercise 2019 – Photo credit: Sarah Hewes

Lifeguards and Lifeboat Crews are regularly called out to assist and deal with incidents involving bodyboarders.  Here are some safety tips to help you stay safe whilst having a fun time:

Top 11 Body Boarding Safety Tips

1. Body Boarding is much more fun with a mate –  It is always better to surf alongside another person for safety sake incase one of you should get into difficulty

2. Let someone know that you’re going out, the location & what is the latest time you will be back –  this is so important incase the HM Coastguard/Lifeboat have to start a search

3. Check out the tide times and weather forecast – there are plenty of free smart device app’s available to download for weather forecasting and tide times

4. Have you considered the dangers of rip currents? They are the cause of a significant number of lifeguard call-outs every year.  More information on rip currents

5. Be realistic about your limits. Even the most experienced bodyboarders have been caught out in the past.

6. Grab some training. There are a multitude of approved bodyboarding schools across the country. Why not grab a few lessons yourself before you head out for the first time.

7. Always wear a leash – So you don’t become separated from your board.  If you have got hold of your board you will have something to keep you afloat should you get into difficulty. It will also help lifeboat and Coastguard crews locate you more easily.

8. Wear the correct wetsuit – As well as keeping you warm, wetsuits will give some additional protection from rock scrapes or surfboard impacts.

9. Always think about other surfers and water users – learn about surfer etiquette and rights of way

10. Know who to call in a coastal emergency – If you see or hear someone or an animal that you think is in difficulty in the water dial ‘999’ or ‘112’ and ask for the Coastguard straight away.

 

11. Bodyboard between the red and yellow flags – the lifeguards are an excellent source of local knowledge eg hazards, tide times, weather forecasts, injury prevention amongst others.  The RNLI indicate that “British and Irish waters are incredibly unpredictable and one of the biggest dangers with bodyboarding is surfing outside of the red and yellow flag lifeguarded area, outside of lifeguard hours”.

Useful statistics

RNLI lifeboat crews launched 18 times to bodyboarders in trouble in 2016. In addition, RNLI lifeguards went to the rescue in 883 bodyboarding related incidents. Over half of these incidents incidents involved rip currents.

 

Ramsgate’s Atlantic 85 Inshore Lifeboat

Useful links

British Bodyboarding Club

British Surfing

Surfing England

British Surfing UK Surfing Guide

Surfers Against Sewage

 

Acknowledgements

RNLI

HM Coastguard

 

How Do I Call For Help By Phone At The Coast?

Our Coastguard colleagues have in the past carried out a public survey and they report that half of the people they questioned did not know that they should dial ‘999’ and ask for the Coastguard for a coastal emergency.  Here are just some of the incidents which the Coastguard should get called to (The list is not exhaustive):

▪️Person in the water

▪️Someone shouting/waving for help from a boat,

▪️Someone stuck on/fallen from a Coastal cliff,

▪️Someone stuck in Coastal mud or quicksand,

▪️Boat sinking or on fire

▪️Persons floating out to sea on a lilo

▪️Distress flare sighted

▪️Persons jumping from quay walls and putting themselves in danger

▪️Persons “Wave Dodging” and putting themselves in danger

▪️Someone gone kayaking at the Coast and not back at the time they said they would be

▪️Boat aground

▪️Someone injured on a beach

▪️Someone cut off by the tide

▪️Child(ren) lost on the beach

▪️Marine Pyrotechnics (flares) or suspected Military Ordnance found on a beach

Coastguard RNLI ThanetRNLICommunitysafety NMOC

Here is the procedure in the event of spotting a coastal emergency:

 1.  Dial ‘999’ or ‘112’ (European Emergency Number) and ask for the Coastguard

2.   Describe your location, if you don’t know exactly where you are use a clear description, landmarks or try and find someone who knows the area.   On some smart phones the compass app will also display the position as latitude and longitude. Alternatively, use an app such as OS locate or What3words

3.  Describe the number of people, animal and or craft that is involved

4.   Describe the problem = what you can see and or hear

5.  Give any further information such as closet access point for emergency services and any further updates on injuries to casualties

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Useful references

Have you downloaded the What3Words App yet?

What exactly is SafeTrx and how can it keep me safe?

Do you know who to call for a coastal emergency?

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Acknowledgements

Greenock Coastguard Team

RNLI

HM Coastguard

RNLI Community Safety Team Help Spread Drowning Prevention Message With School Pupils

On Monday (9th March) one of our team supported the RNLI Education Presentation Team at the ‘Safety In Action’ event at Dreamland organised by Salus.  Incase you haven’t come across ‘Safety In Action’ it is an immersive event for Year 6 children to learn about dangers they may face as they become more independent and prepare for transition up to secondary school.

It is supported by various organisations including Kent Police, British Transport Police, Kent Fire and Rescue Service, the RNLI, Kent County Council, Kenward Trust, and UK Power Networks.  In other parts of the country it may be known under different guises including Crucial Crew.

Safety In Action events comprise of a number of scenarios set up by the organisations involved specificallly tailored to simulate and provide information about a variety of topics which may include:

  • Drugs/Alcohol
  • Fire Safety
  • Water Safety
  • Rail Safety
  • Road Safety
  • On-line Safety
  • Personal Safety
  • Stranger Danger
  • Emergency Life Support
  • Driver Safety
Thanetlifeguards RNLICommunitySafety RNLIWatersafety RNLISeasafety Margate Dreamland beachsafety coastalsafety watersafety lifeguards
RNLI Beach Flags

Children are divided into teams to rotate around the different scenarios, spending 10 minutes at each. The scenario content is decided by the relevant organisation or agency delivering them. They are all designed to engage and inform the children on specific safety issues relating to their area of expertise.

The topics that were covered within the RNLI session included: what is the RNLI, the water safety code, know to call the coastguard in a coastal emergency, float to live, identifying beach and harbour safety hazards and what is the beach lifeguards role.  These are all important water safety topic’s which will help young people enjoy a safe time at the coast or inland waterway.

We would like to say a massive thank you to all the school children that visited the RNLI stand and we were impressed by your enthusiasm and keeness in wanting to learn about water safety.  We wish you well on your transition to senior school.  Thank you also to Salus for inviting the RNLI team along and for your continued support in helping us to share the key safety messages.

Useful references:

Our Ultimate Guide In Finding A Lifeguarded Beach in Thanet

Why Inflatables Are Not Good For The Seaside

RNLI – How to Float

RNLICommunitysafety RNLISeasafety RNLI Thanetlifeguards Salus RNLILifeguards beachsafety dogsafety lifejacketclinic Bewateraware Respecthewater Runnersandwalkers watersafety Seasafety Margatecoastguard Margatelifeboat ramsgatelifeboat

Acknowledgements

RNLI

HM Coastguard

Salus