Thanet RNLI Community Safety

Why Should You Carry A VHF Radio If You Are A Kayaker, Sailor, Personal Water Craft user or Fishermen

Regularly at community events our team are asked why should you carry a VHF radio if you are a kayaker, dingy sailor, paddle boarder, personal water craft user, or off-shore fishermen when they could use their mobile phone instead if they get into difficulty?  Even if you are not going far offshore you might not be able to get a mobile phone signal.  Wet mobile phones don’t work very well and who knows what sea or weather conditions you may experience.

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How to have a fabulous, but safe time at the coast with your dog

There is nothing better than enjoying a lovely walk with your dog at the coast taking in sea air, grabbing some exercise and enjoying time with your friends and family.  However, lifeboat crews and Coastguard Rescue Teams (CRT) are frequently called out to rescue dogs that have entered the water for one reason or another or fallen over the edge of a cliff.  Sometimes their owners will enter the water to try and rescue them too. In 2019 RNLI crews were launched 157 times to incidents involving dogs.

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Our Team Are Proudly Supporting the Samaritans Brew Monday – It’s Good To Talk!

Brew Monday kicks off on Monday 18th January, the third Monday of the month which is usually known as ‘Blue Monday’.  We will be helping to flip ‘Blue Monday on it’s head and turning it into something positive by taking part in a Team Cuppa/Coffee morning.  We are encouraging everyone to reach out and catch up over a virtual cuppa because now more than ever, it’s so important to stay connected.

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Lockdown Water Safety – Do You Enjoy Your Running or Walking? Do You Know What To Do If You Fell Into Water

With an increase in the number of people pulling on their trainers or walking boots for their unlimited daily exercise in England by themselves  or with one other person, the RNLI are urging people to heed the advice if anyone who finds themselves unexpectedly in cold water to ‘float to live’.   Getting out into the fresh air for a walk or run is an excellent way of grabbing some exercise and or valuable ‘headspace’ time away from work or the stresses and strains of modern everyday life.  But, knowing what to do should you get into difficulty in water is essential.

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A recent incident near Blackburn involving a runner who accidentally fell into a canal who helped to save her own life by using the ‘Float to Live’ safety drill enforces the RNLI’s water safety campaign ‘Respect the Water’ very effectively.  Fortunately, the Aggie the runner who knew the route well escaped unhurt and without the need for hospitalisation. You can view the interview below which Aggie gave to the RNLI below explaining how she remembered the ‘Float to Live’ principle after seeing it advertised on television.

Chris Cousens, one of the RNLI’s Water Safety Lead’s, said “annual coastal fatality figures reveal over half (55%) of those who died at the coast in 2018 ended up in the water unexpectedly – a figure that has remained consistent in recent years. Chris says:

‘Aggie’s story really does prove the charity’s Float to Live advice is just as relevant inland as it is on the coast. Coastal fatality figures sadly show that many of those who lose their lives did not plan on entering the water.

Slips, trips and falls can catch people unaware while out running or walking. Knowing what to do if you fall into cold water, whether inland or at the coast, can be the difference between life and death.

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‘The instinctive human reaction when you fall into cold water can cause panic and gasping for breath, increasing the chances of breathing in water. Although it’s counter intuitive, the best immediate course of action is to fight your instinct and float on your back. More tragic water-related deaths can be avoided by knowing the risks and remembering the Float technique, just as Aggie did.

Coastal and Inland Water ways

Float to Live is something that you can use equally at the coast, as you can in a river, canal, loch, quarry or lake.  The short video above will demonstrate how to conduct ‘Float to Live’.

 

Water Safety Reminders

Here is a reminder if you are setting out for a lovely walk or run or any other outdoor activity which is close to water:

  1. Check the weather and tides
  2. Carry a ‘calling for help’ device such as a fully charged mobile phone in a waterproof case
  3. Tell someone where you are going and what time you will be back
  4. Wear the right clothing/equipment for the activity
  5. Read and take heed of any warning signage at the entrance to beaches
  6. Be aware of your surroundings at all times
  7. Be aware of slips and trips, keeping to recognised coastal paths
  8. Don’t enter the water should you get cut off by the tide, shout for help
  9. If you do unexpectedly find yourself in the water float on your back until you get your breath
  10. If you see an animal or person in difficulty in the water dial ‘999’ at the coast or on the River Thames and ask for the Coastguard or if inland the Fire Service giving an accurate location
  11. Abide by the relevant COVID-19 safety restrictions for that particular area

 

Stay Safe!

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Other useful links

What do I do if I saw someone in difficulty in the water?

What is cold water shock?

Why not sign-up to our e-newsletter?

RNLI Respect the Water

Acknowledgements

Royal National Lifeboat Institution

HM Coastguard

RNLI Water Safety Lead – Chris Cousens

Agnieszka ‘Aggie’ Kwiecien for allowing her story to be published

New Year Resolutions – Some Lifesaving Purchase Ideas For The January Sales – Help Improve Your Safety On The Water

January is traditionally the time to make those New Year resolutions, whether it is ‘Dry January’ (that is abstaining from alcohol consumption), a new diet, fitness regime, learn a new language, change career/job, or learning something new to help improve yourself.  Whatever you decide to tackle then we wish you the best of luck.  It’s not easy taking on a new challenge, but whatever you try just keep going.  There will be days that you will not feel like it, but stick with it and you will be surprised that little steps can make a big difference.   Everyone has their own challenges and what one person takes for granted can be another person’s goal or massive achievement.  During the COVID-19 pandemic many people have seized the opportunity to learn something new, take up a new hobby or taken an on-line course which we applaud!

 

For those of you who enjoy a water sport then January maybe the ideal opportunity to help improve their safety out on the water.  Here are some ideas:

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Lifejackets

Lifejackets or personal floatation devices (PFD’s) are essential pieces of lifesaving kit which should be regularly serviced and worn at all times.  Checking your lifejacket and getting it serviced is always a good start to the new year and maybe replacing one that you may have had for a long time taking advantage of the January sales at the Chandlers is always a good move.  Whether you are a sailor, off-shore angler, kayaker, canoeist or paddle boarder a lifejacket or personal floatation device is a must for all sea and weather conditions.

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Open Water Swimming

Open water or cold water swimming has really taken off in the past couple of years, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic.  A brightly coloured swim hat and tow float are good purchases if you are intending on taking up this fabulous pastime in the New Year.  Joining a club or signing up for some swimming lesson (when COVID-19 regulations permit) is also an excellent way of enjoying your new hobby.  Swimming with a buddy, friend or club members is great fun, but also fabulous for safety as everyone will be looking out for each other.

Why not check out our previous post on some open water swimming safety tips.

 

VHF radio’s and courses

The preferred means of communication when out on the water is a VHF radio.  They are a relatively inexpensive piece of kit to purchase, relatively simple to use under pressure in a life threatening situation, water proof, can deliver a recognised method of calling for assistance via channel 16, if you purchase one with Digital Selective Calling (DSC) a predefined automatic signal of your position will be transmitted in an emergency situation if you depress the DSC button;  and has a better range of reception (often close to the shoreline a mobile phone can’t get a signal).

Once purchased you will need to attend and pass a radio course to teach you how to use it and it’s functions. The RYA run a wealth of radio courses across the UK and more and more are being offered with an on-line element.

 

Personal Locator Beacons (PLB’s)

These have really come down in price recently and are a highly recommended piece of safety kit which need to be registered with the HM Coastguard and your details update if you change address.  Canoeists, kayakers, divers, paddle boarders. PLB’s have also drawn popularity in mountain biking, hiking and climbing circles enabling these sporting enthusiasts in remote locations to have a means of calling for help which can pinpoint their position and where there is no mobile phone signal.

 

Training or lessons

If you are just starting out in your new water sport or igniting an old passion then finding an approved instructor or subscribing to some lessons at a local club will be a good move to help you learn the basic’s, safety drills or refresh on some previously learnt techniques.  Each sport will have their own approved instructors or schools which have been independently assessed for their specialist knowledge of the sport, safety aspects, equipment and insurance.  A quick search of the relevant sport’s governing body will provide a list of approved instructing schools and qualified coaches.  A phone call, email or private message on social media will help you answer any questions you may have.

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Mobile Phone Water Proof Pouch

Carrying a means of ‘calling for help’ is essential whatever water sport you enjoy whether it’s at the coast or on inland water.  The handheld VHF radio is our recommended ‘calling for help’ device, however, a fully charged mobile in a water proof pouch is also a viable option for calling for help.    Being able to call for help if you get into difficulty or you see someone else in trouble is essential.   Mobile phone pouch’s are relatively inexpensive to purchase via the internet or water sport retail outlets.

 

Internet for useful resources

The internet contains a whole host of valuable resources which can help increase your knowledge and safety whilst having at the same time enabling you to have a great time whilst on the water.  Always ensure that your sources are the approved governing bodyclub or association for the relevant sport eg RYA, British Canoeing, British Kitesports Association etc.

Thank you for reading a stay safe out there!

 

Acknowledgements

RNLI

HM Coastguard

RYA

British Canoeing