Thanet RNLI Community Safety

2019 RoSPA National Water Safety Conference

On Monday (18th November) I was privileged to attend the 2019 Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) National Water Safety Conference in London – ‘Making Every Community Count’.

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The RoSPA conference is where a multitude of influential organisations, charities and government agencies who are all involved in drowning prevention and water safety meet up to examine how they can collectively improve in reducing fatalities around water.  It is three years since the launch of the National Water Safety Strategy which is supported by Government and this wide range of organisations which is making significant efforts to address the five key targets to help improve water safety.

The conference was opened by Mr George Rawlinson who is the National Water Safety Forum Independent Chair.  One of the points which was clear from Mr Rawlinson’s opening address is that “Collaboration is essential if we are to succeed in reducing fatalities around the waters of the UK, inland and coast”.

dontdrinkanddrown RLSS

There are many campaigns up and down the UK that involve collaboration with several different agencies. These include the Royal Life saving Societies (RLSS) ‘Don’t Drink and Drown’ ‘Runners and Walkers’ and Winter Water Safety campaigns, the RNLI’s  Respect the Water, National Fire Chief’s ‘Be Water Aware’ week; and no end of highly successful throw bag ‘community responder’ schemes at canal’s, harbours, marina’s and riverside locations.

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Conference speakers included: Mr Dominic Watkins from DWF Law LLP., who spoke about the independent review of the legal framework on who owes legal responsibility for ensuring water safety on the coastline. This was commissioned on behalf of the HM Coastguard Agency following the very tragic deaths at Camber Sands.

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The second speaker up to the podium was introduced as Mark Towens, the Port of London Authority Harbour Master.  Mr Towens led the audience through the development and delivery of the Tidal Thames Water Safety Forum strategy which you may remember was launched by HRH Prince William earlier in the year.  The aim of the strategy is to reduce the 700 incidents and 30 fatalities resulting from accidental or deliberate drowning (suicide) along the River Thames.

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David Wilson, Station Manager Manchester Central Fire Station (Greater Manchester Fire & Rescue Service) spoke next which proved highly interesting and informative.  Station Manager Wilson is the chair of the water safety partnership and explored the challenges and lessons learnt from this partnership approach.

 

Mr Nick Pope was invited up to the stage and spoke about his son’s very tragic and sad death whilst returning home after a night out as a student in Manchester.  When Mr Pope spoke you could hear a pin drop in the room talking openly about how we can all help #MakeCharlieTheLast.

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Further speakers included Mr Justin Scarr (Chief Executive Royal Life Saving Society Australia), Mr David Walker (Leisure Safety Manager for RoSPA) who revealed that rivers suffered the highest proportion of UK accidental drowning casualities, that future focus should include the pro-active sharing of good practise; Mr Brian Johnson (Chief Executive, Maritime Coastguard Agency) and Dr Peter Aitken (Director of Research and Development, Devon Partnership NHS Trust).  It is Dr Aitken’s talk which I will focus on next.

Dr Aitken delivered a truly inspiring talk entitled “Boats, Barbers, Prisoners and Farmers”. Dr Aitken explored the way in which ‘crowd sourcing’ could be harnessed to help increase suicide prevention amongst the wider community, by mobilising community expertise to look out for people who are in need of help particularly in areas which may attract people who wish to take their own lives.

 

You may have already come across the ‘Small Talk Saves Lives’ which is such a fantastic campaign started by the Samaritans which is really important to follow and use.  It was also very interesting to learn that studies by Dr Aitken show that if the press or others disclose the identity (male/female), location and means that there is direct causation to two further suicides. You can follow Dr Aitken’s work via his twitter feed

 

Conclusion

I would like to thank David Walker and his team from RoSPA who organised and deliverd the conference and to the excellent speakers who provided a highly invaluable and a very worthwhile day.

 

Other useful references

RNLI – Respect the Water campaign

HM Coastguard – Managing Beach Safety

National Fire Chief’s – Be Water Aware

RLSS – Don’t Drink and Drown

Canals and River Trust

drowningprevention watersafety NFCC RLSS RNLI Respectthewater

Acknowledgements

RNLI Community Safety Team

HM Coastguard

RoSPA – Water Safety

Dr Peter Aitken – Director of Research & Development, Devon Partnership NHS Trust

Dominic Walker – DWF Low LLP

Harbour Master Mark Towens – Port of London Authority

Station Manager David Wilson – Greater Manchester Fire & Rescue Service

Justin Scarr – CEO Royal Lifesaving Society Australia

Are you Winter Water Safety Aware?

Enjoying a walk or run with family, friends and or your beloved dog can be such great fun during Winter time.  Having some knowledge on how to stay safe whilst out and about during winter will enable you to have a great time.

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Lakes, pools, reservoirs and canals can get frozen over during cold weather, which look very picturesque but all too often people venture out onto the frozen lakes and find themselves in difficulty in the water. Sadly in the past there have been numerous incidents where people have entered the water under ice with the best intentions to either attempt the rescue of another person or a dog and they have tragically become a fatality themselves.

 

The Royal Life Saving Society (RLSS) has come up with some useful tips on what actions to take in an emergency situation:

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Only use well lit areas

Time your walks to make the most of the daylight; if you need to walk in the evening only use well-lit areas or take a route not alongside water.

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Keep back from the edge
When walking alongside water keep back from the edge.

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Keep dogs on their leads
Keep dogs on their leads when near ice and don’t throw sticks or toys onto the ice.

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Don’t go on the ice to rescue a dog
Don’t go onto ice or into the water to rescue a dog, move to somewhere that the dog will be able to climb out and call them towards you.

 

Know who to call in an emergency

If you hear or see an animal or person who has fallen into through the ice or into the water shout for help and call ‘999’ or ‘112’ ask for the Coastguard at the coast or on the River Thames; and Fire and Rescue Service if inland at a lake, pool, river, reservior, quarry or loch.

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Do not walk or climb onto the ice to attempt a rescue. Try and reach them from the bank using a rope, pole, tree branch, clothing tied together or anything else which can extend your reach.  If you cannot reach them, slide something which floats, such as a plastic bottle or football, across the ice for them to hold onto to stay afloat whilst help is on the way.

Thank you for reading!

Other useful links

Know who to call in a coastal emergency

RLSS

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Acknowledgements

RLSS

RNLI

HM Coastguard

Why Wearing a Lifejacket or Buoyancy Aid Is So Important

 

It’s Maritime Safety Week and we are joining forces with other agencies and organisations in sharing top tips to help keep you safe whilst you are out on the water.  It was announced by the Casualty Review Panel (1) that eleven people who drowned in 2018 may have been alive today if they had worn a lifejacket or personal floation device (PFD).

The Panel reviewed 22 fatalities from 2018 and agreed that 11 lives could have been saved if they had been wearing a lifejacket.  This figure is slightly lower than last year’s figure of 13 lives (out of 27 fatalities).  In the twelve years that the Panel has been meeting, is has recorded that 200 lives could have been saved by wearing a lifejacket or buoyancy aid.

The majority of incidents in 2018 the Panel discovered  involved commercial fishermen (including accidents at fish farms) and anglers, many of which happened in Scottish Sea Lochs.

 

The Panel’s overriding advice was to wear a lifejacket or buoyancy aid appropriate to your activity which is proven to greatly improve your chances of surviving the shock of entering cold water. 

The Panel also recommended an additional package of measures to keep you safe for your activity:

  • Carrying a VHF DSC radio and knowing how to use it to contact the Coastguard or other vessels
  • Carrying a Personal Locator Beacon (PLB) or Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB will help rescuers to locate you and even if you’re unconscious the alarm will be raised.
  • Downloading the RYA SafeTrx app on your phone and using it in an emergency could make all the difference.
  • Wearing appropriate clothing and carrying the right safety equipment for your sport, particularly rock anglers and sport fishermen wading in slippery rivers.
  • Making sure your equipment is properly fitted, for example wearing a lifejacket with a crotch strap attached. This advice comes after the panel looked at a case where a yachtsman died because he was wearing a lifejacket that was not properly fitted, had ridden up and was not keeping his head above water.

 

(1) The Casualty Review Panel is made up of representatives from: Angling Trust, RNLI, Royal Yachting Association, Marine Accident Investigation Branch, Maritime and Coastguard Agency, National Water Safety Forum, British Canoe Union, the lifejacket industry, Scottish Fishermen’s Federation and University of Portsmouth. The panel uses data supplied from HM Coastguard and MAIB databases and therefore covers mostly coastal incidents. Other inland fatal angling incidents, where a lifejacket might have saved a life may have occurred during 2018 but these are not included for this exercise.

More useful lifesaving links

Lifejackets – how to choose one

Lifejackets – which one should I buy?

Calling for help at the coast – which device should I get?

RYA SafeTrx

Find out more about Maritime Safety Week 2019

Acknowledgements

To all the agencies involved in the Casualty Review Panel and in particular HM Coastguard for the infographic and stats

 

 

Advice on Board? How can you get a free RNLI ‘safety’ Advice on Board session

Boating should be fun. Every year the RNLI launches their lifeboats to thousands of incidents, many of which could have been prevented by following simple safety precautions or having a plan in the event of something going wrong.  The RNLI Community Safety Teams can help you make your boat as safe as possible.

Advice on Board

The RNLI provides a wide range of safety advice to participants of all types of water based activity.  One of the specialist areas that our Community Safety Team can provide is an ‘Advice on Board’ session. This can be at a marina or harbour where your boat is moored; at your home or work address or other location where your vessel is stored. It can include any almost any type of leisure craft and be tailored to a time and date that suits you.

The aim of the ‘Advice on Board’ session is a confidential one-to-one discussion with you about onboard safety and equipment.  The session is not a ‘pass or fail’ inspection.  It is not a safety check or an MoT like a garage would provide for your car, but a useful way of you thinking about: ‘what am I already doing about safety and how can I improve it’.

Here are just some of the discussional items that we will include during an ‘Advice on Board’ session:

  • Do you and your crew practise regularly a MOB drill (‘man overboard’ drill)?
  • How often do you get your lifejackets checked and serviced?
  • What ‘calling for help’ devices do you carry and do all your crew know how to use them?
  • What spares do you carry to undertake basic repairs to your vessel?
  • What navigational aids do you carry?

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Newcomer or Experienced boater?

Whether you are a newcomer or an experienced boater, our unique one-to-one service will give you an opportunity to ask those niggling questions on equipment or emergency procedures that you have always wanted to ask.

Is Advice on Board definitely FREE?

Absolutely, the RNLI believe that prevention is better than cure and we want make sure that everyone receives the right advice. So, the whole Advice on Board session including any phone calls or email is totally free!

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Useful links:

How to book an RNLI Advice on Board session

How to book an RNLI Lifejacket clinic

Man over Board (MOB) drills

Sign up for our monthly newsletter

Contact our RNLI Community Safety team today for a no obligation chat about an ‘Advice on Board’ via email : Andrew_Mills@RNLI.org.uk

How To Stay Safe This Summer – Drowning Prevention Week
Reminding and Refreshing Beach visitors on Summer Water Safety Tips

The Summer months are a fabulous time to enjoy water activity either at the coast or inland at home and abroad. Unfortunately, some people are prepared to take risks whilst on holiday which they wouldn’t necessarily do and not take some basic precautions.  We are committed to sharing safety messaging to as wide an audience as possible working closely with other organisations and agencies to help prevent drowning incidents.  Here are the Royal Lifesaving Society (RLSS) Summer Water Safety top tips to help keep you safe:

1.  If you’re looking for a place to cool off always find a lifeguarded swimming site.

 

 

 

2.  Water at open water and inland sites is often much colder than it looks, cold water can affect your ability to swim and self-rescue.

3.  Don’t go too far – Always swim parallel to the shore, that way you’e never too far away from it.

 

 

 

4.  It’s stronger than it looks – Currents in the water can be very strong. If you find yourself caught in a riptide – don’t swim against it – you’ll tire yourself out. Swim with the current and call for help.

 

 

 

5.  Bring a friend – Always bring a friend when you go swimming so if anything goes wrong you’ve got someone there to help.

What is ‘Cold Water Shock’?

Where is your nearest lifeguarded beach?

Free Children’s Swimming Lessons

Drowning Prevention Week