Thanet RNLI Community Safety

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Know Who To Call If You Spot Washed Up Military Ordnance or Discarded Pyrotechnics?
Know Who To Call If You Spot Washed Up Military Ordnance or Discarded Pyrotechnics At The Coast

Our team are regularly asked at events who to call in the event of someone finding legacy military ordnance or a marine pyrotechnic (flare) on the beach or in the sea.  Amongst some of the HM Coastguard’s multifaceted roles includes investigating objects which have been washed up onto the coastline which may present a danger to coastal users.  During a spate of bad weather legacy military ordnance is often washed up onto our beaches. From time to time discarded pyrotechnic’s are also discovered.

Military Ordnance washed up onto the beach – Photo credit: Greenock CG Rescue Team

HM Coastguard advice:

  • In all cases if you ever come across something at the coast or sea which you believe could be military ordnance or a marine pyrotechnic dial ‘999’ or ‘112’ straight away and ask for the Coastguard
  • Move away to a place of safety
  • Never touch the item or move it
  • Warn others of the possible danger
  • Always call for help if you are in any doubt whatsoever

Coastguard explosion proof box with kit (photo credit Greenock CG Rescue Team)

The Coastguard Operations Centre will then task one of their 24/7 on-call Coastguard Rescue Teams (CRT’s) to investigate the find.  Once on scene they will undertake an examination of the item to ascertain if it is either military ordnance or a discarded pyrotechnic.  If it is a pyrotechnic the item will be removed and transported for safe disposal.

Flares found on the beach – Picture credit: Adrossan Coastguard

If the CRT believe it is military ordnance they will request the attendance of an Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) team from the British Army or Royal Navy dependant on where the find is located.   Whilst setting up a cordon to ensure public safety awaiting the arrival of the military team.

Picture credit: HM Coastguard Margate

The military EOD team will conduct a thorough risk assessment and detailed examination of the item. The operator will either remove the item back to their base for safe disposal or carry out a controlled explosion at the scene with a safe cordon in place. Police and other other ‘blue light services’ may also be called upon to assist if required.

Further reading:

Controlled explosion for device washed up on Studland Beach

Selsey Coastguard controlled explosion on Medmerry Beach

HM Coastguard roles and responsibilities

Adrossan Coastguard WordPress – blog

How to dispose of time expired pyrotechnic’s (flares) – Thanet CS Team

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HM Coastguard

Margate, Greenock and Ardrossan Coastguard Rescue teams for pictures

Armed Forces Day in Ramsgate

Members of the team at the Respect the Water stand Ramsgate Armed Forces Day

Armed Forces Day was founded to enable people to show their support for the men and women who make up the Armed Forces community: from currently serving troops to Service families, veterans and cadets. There are a multitude of ways for people, communities and organisations across the country to show their support and get involved, from attending an event or joining us online to throwing a party or local event.  Our team did just that on Saturday by attending the Ramsgate parade and drum head service to show their support and share safety messaging especially important due to the large numbers of people flocking to the beaches due to the lovely weather.


VIP’s, Fire Service and Senior Military officers waiting to join the Ramsgate Armed Forces Day

The parade amassed serving members of the Royal Air Force from the Defence Fire Training and Development Centre at Manston, the Royal Navy Reserve, Soldiers and Non Commissioned Officers from the Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment, Cadets from the Royal Air Force and Royal Navy, members of the British Legion; and local Scout and Cub groups.

One of our key messages that we chatted to the lovely visitors to the parade was ‘Cold Water Shock.  Here is a video which describes what it is and how to survive it. Please share on-line amongst your friends and family it just could help someone’s life!

Further safety links

Evan’s Story – Learn how Evan survived using the Float to Live drill

Armed Forces Day

Respect the Water

Visit Ramsgate tourist information

Ramsgate Lifeboat Station page

Margate Lifeboat RNLI Station page