Thanet RNLI Community Safety

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Unfortunately, due to safety restrictions placed upon us due to the COVID-19 pandemic we have had to postpone many of our drowning prevention initiatives and lifesaving activity. However, we are still busy sharing key safety messages via social media and are permitted to carry out some ‘social distanced’ activity although on a limited basis.  We are continuing to keep subscribers up to date with all the latest news with an e-newsletter which is delivered straight to your inbox.

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Our Top 7 Yacht Sailing and Motorboating Safety Tips

I am sure that you will agree that there is nothing quite like white sails billowing against a lovely blue sky, the breeze and spray on your face. It can be exciting, challenging and relaxing.  Although, no matter where or what type of boat you sail there is one factor that you must take into account before embarking on a voyage SAFETY.  In this blog we will consider 7 Safety Tips which will help you minimise the hazards enabling you, your crew and passengers to have a fabulous, but safe time on the water.


1.   Lifejackets

You may have read our previous blogs or social media postings about the critical importance of wearing a correctly fitted and maintained lifejacket or personal floation aid (PFD).  When out on the water boating or sailing whatever the weather our advice is always to wear a lifejacket and that goes for each member of your crew and passengers.  Why not check out the excellent RNLI video below which explores how to fit a buoyancy aid correctly.

There is lots of helpful information available on-line about lifejackets and how to fit and maintain them correctly.  Find out more about some essential lifejacket checks

As well as wearing a fully serviced lifejacket we also highly recommend wearing crotch straps.  If you are uncertain why you should wear them check out the video below:

2.  Training

Lifeboat crews are often called out to sailors in difficulty who have over estimated their skill and knowledge level.   Be totally honest with yourself about your skill level. If you are in any doubt why not enrol onto an RYA course.   Courses can help you prepare for anything, whether your a complete novice,  living onboard, enjoying a coastal cruising or venturing further offshore.

RNLICommunitySafety SeaSafety ThanetRNLICommunitySafety respectthewater lifejackets crotchstraps RNLI

3.  Check Your Engine

Nearly 20% of all Lifeboat call-outs are to sailing and motor cruisers suffering from mechanical failure.  Having a good knowledge of your boat’s engine, carrying spares and being able to fit them could make the difference between having to call for help and being able to help yourself.  The RYA run disel engine courses which are highly popular.  The RNLI produces some free downloadable resources to help you with engine maintenance.

RNLI Ramsgatelifeboat respectthewater RNLICommunitySafetyTeam

4.  Emily’s Code

On 2nd May 2015, 14-year-old Emily Gardner tragically drowned in a boating accident. An ill-fitting buoyancy aid snagged on the cleat of a capsized speedboat. In her memory, her family helped draw up the following mnemonic to highlight key safety messages and they provide a great rule of thumb for any sailor to follow:


5.  Check the weather & conditions

The weather can make or break your day. Regularly checking the weather forecast and sea conditions can help you if you planning a lengthy voyage.  Downloading the SafeTrx App provides key Inshore waters weather forecasts, as well as tracking your trip and alerting your emergency contact if you are overdue.

tidetimes RNLICommunitysafety seasafety RNLI tidesnearme

6.   Calling for Help

Life-threatening incidents can occur at any time without warning and in any weather!  Having a means of ‘calling for help’ and that everyone on your crew/passengers knows how to use them will enable you to get help to you should an incident occur as quickly as possible.  Incidents can go unnoticed even in busy waters close to the coastline.

There is a range of different devices for ‘calling for help on the market. Whichever one you choose and we recommend you use more than one – you must be able to reach it easily in an emergency. Don’t rely on a single method of calling for help as one may not work.  We have included a range of ‘calling for help’ devices below:

VHFradio callingforhelp respectthewater

EPIRB callingforhelp RNLI RNLICommunitySafetyTeam







RNLICommunitysafetyteam Callingforhelp seasafety bewateraware sailing yachting kitesurfing

7.  Advice on Board (AOB)

Advice Onboard is a totally free of charge service that’s suitable for anyone who goes to sea on a pleasure vessel of less than 13.7m. It’s available in all parts of the UK and Ireland. It’s tailored to your particular vessel and the type of boating you do.

Whether you are highly experienced or a complete novice sailor or boater you’ll benefit from this free and friendly service. The safety advice session takes place onboard your vessel at a time that’s convenient for you.

lifejacket clinic, Community Safety, Thanet, Sea safety. RNLI

This service is provided by experienced and highly trained RNLI volunteers and will provide you with independent advice about your boat’s safety equipment. You’ll also have an opportunity to ask any of those burning questions about safety drills, equipment or emergency procedures that you may have put off asking for some time.

Adviceoboard RNLICommunitysafety seasafety AOB Ramsgate RNLI
Thanet RNLI CS Team undertaking an Advice on Board session

Our team can also check your lifejackets as part of the AOB session. However, we still recommend that you have your lifejackets serviced by a service agent or the manufacturer at the recommended intervals.  Find out more about how our lifejacket clinics are helping to keep sailors safe.

We hope that you have enjoyed this blog. If you would like to book an Advice on Board session or lifejacket check/clinic with our team you can get in touch by emailing

lifejackets RNLICommunitySafetyTeam seasafety


  • Always wear a properly serviced and fitting lifejacket or personal floatation device
  • Always carry a means of calling for help eg VHF radio, Personal Locator Beacon (PLB), flares, EIRB, mobile phone with SafeTrx app
  • Have an emergency action plan and make sure everyone aboard receives a detailed briefing (covering the location and use of the safety equipment, including the spare kill cord for powerboats. Practising ‘man overboard’ drills is very important).
  • Arrange to attend some training from an approved training provider
  • Always check the weather and tide times before you embark on your voyage
  • Tell someone ashore your voyage plan and who to call if you don’t return on time
  • Always drive your boat at a speed that is appropriate to the weather conditions and to the environment you are operating in

PLB EPIRB RNLICommunitySafety seasafety lifejackets





HM Coastguard

Free Lifejacket Clinic at Margate Lifeboat Station in October

Members of Thanet CS team pictured during a lifejacket check

When was the last time that you checked your lifejacket? Are you aware that a significant number of lifejackets that we checked recently had out-of-date firing mechanism’s and or corroded gas bottles. Why not pop along to our free Lifejacket Clinic on Saturday 12th October at Margate Lifeboat Station.  Where you can get your jacket checked and at the same time receive safety advice about which ‘calling for help’ device to carry, book your very own free ‘Advice on Board’ session and much more. Lifejacket clinic’s also enjoy support from GJW Direct who is one of the RNLI’s commercial partners.


*Please note that an inspection by an RNLI Community Safety Advisor is not the equivalent of a lifejacket service. Lifejackets should be serviced by an approved service agent.

Other useful links:

Lifejackets – which one should I buy?

Lifejackets useless unless worn!

How to book a lifejacket clinic?

RNLI’s complete guide to lifejackets

When was the last time you checked your lifejacket?

Members of Thanet CS team pictured during a lifejacket check

Recently our team have carried out their Ramsgate Harbour ‘walk the pontoons’ lifesaving intervention tactic. Whereby team members chat to boat owners and undertake checks on their lifejackets free of charge.  Regularly our team found that lifejacket firing mechanisms are out of date. One routine check earlier this year revealed that the firing mechanism had already been fired in a jacket, but the owner had been told by a friend that it was fit for purpose and would work.

Lifejacket firing mechanism with date stamp

When was the last time you checked the firing mechanism on your lifejacket? Were you aware  that they have a replacement date stamped on them? Do you know how to check this date?

Hammar automatic inflation system

Why not contact us for a FREE lifejacket check and give yourself and your crew the peace of mind that if you end up in the water your lifejacket (if worn) could save your life. Please send us a private message with your contact details on our Facebook page or email and let our team do the rest. The checks and advice we give you will not cost anything and we also have anumber of free booklets which will help you stay safe on the water.

Halkey-Roberts Bobbin (out of date)

Remember: Lifejackets have no use stored in a bag. Stick one on before it is too late. Useless unless worn!

Please note: The checks that our team carries out are not meant to replace the recommended servicing by a qualified lifejacket service agent or manufacturer.

Lifejacket clinic underway at the Royal Temple Yacht Club

Other useful links:

Top 10 Lifejacket checks which could help save your life

Anglers and lifejackets


Plymouth RNLI Community Safety Team

Schools Out For The Summer – Top 10 Things We Enjoy About The Seaside

How does Alice Cooper’s 1972 song go …….”School’s out for the Summer!”…..  Many schools have now finally broken up for the Summer.  With the mass Summer holiday getaway well underway, we thought we would share with you our team’s top 10 things they love to do whilst at the seaside:

1.  Enjoy a lovely swim or paddle at a lifeguarded beach

You don’t have to be an olympic swimmer to enjoy the sea, some people enjoy a gentle paddle just as much. Letting the water wash over your feet and legs is a fantastically relaxing thing to do.  Have a look out for the red and yellow flags these will designate where the safest place is to swim or enjoy your activity. More info on beach safety.

2.  Enjoy a nice book to relax and unwind?

We love a great novel especially when sat on the beach enjoying time with the family.  Charles Dickens spent his Summer holidays in the 1850’s and 1860’s in Broadstairs and is reported to have written ‘Bleak House’ there.  We especially love our crime thrillers, but which book would you like to take to the beach?

3.  Have a go at a new sport?

Some members of our team love their coastal water sports.  Why not try out a new sport : surfing, kayacking, stand-up paddle boarding, diving, coasteering and personal water craft (often referred to as jet skiing) have all increased in popularity in recent years.  There are plenty of approved school’s and activity centre’s that run taster or starter courses all around the coast. More helpful safety advice from the RNLI can be found here

4.  Rock pooling

Challenge your family to see who can spot the most unusual creatures. The best time to get to the beach is at low tide as it’s the best time to look for hermit, shore or porcelain crabs and sea anemone.  Some of the creatures can be fragile so be alittle careful.  Before you head down check the tides and be aware of your surroundings at all times as tides can come in without you noticing.  More tides info: Tides Near Me


5.  Swim Safe – Margate Main Sands

Swim Safe is running at Margate Main Sands this year again. Incase you haven’t heard it is free swimming coaching for children aged 7-14 years in the sea with qualified and experienced swim teachers.  Your child must be able to swim 25 metres in a pool unaided before attending. Book your child’s place here

6. Visit a Lifeboat Shop or lifeboat station

Each Lifeboat station has their very own shop which is open during the Summer holidays.  These are located either at the lifeboat station or very close by. They sell a whole range of fantastic RNLI goodies which help to enable the RNLI continue to carry out his essential lifesaving work. Find out more about Kent’s lifeboat stations by checking out our website useful links page

7. Enjoy an ice cream

Our team love their ice cream.  There’s plenty to choose from in and around Broadstairs, Margate and Ramsgate’s beaches.  What is your favourite you enjoy?  John one of our Comunity Safety Advisors loves his ice cream cone with a flake and strawberry sauce.  Andy loves a choc ice.

8.  Build a sandcastle

Sandcastle building is such a fun activity to do with your children.  Andy (one of our Team) enjoyed building sandcastles with his son and digging a moat around the castles when they were built.

9. Coastal Walking

Taking a lovely beach or coastal early morning walk or perhaps one during the evening is such a fabulous thing to do. It is such as relaxing activity whilst enjoying the sea air and the sights and sounds of the coast.  Some bays can get cut-off very easily in our area of Kent (Kingsgate, Botany, Dumpton Gap, Stone Bay and environs) so it is advisable to have a look before you go out at the Tides Near Me App, check local hazard warning signs and carry a fully charged mobile phone incase you need to call for help. Have a great walk!

10.  How many times can you skim a stone?

How many bounces can you do? Flat or smooth stones are the best in our opinion for skimming in the sea and there’s plenty to be found on the beach. We love challenges, so why not hold your own family competition and see who wins. Maybe the winner gets an ice cream?

We hope you’ve enjoyed our top 10 list. As Joel one of our Community Safety Advisors says “what is there not to like about the beach”.  What are your 10 ten things that you like to do?  Have a great time whatever you choose to do! Happy holidays!

More useful links:

Sign-up to our newsletter

Find your nearest lifeguarded beach

Swim Safe – free children’s swimming lessons

HM Coastguard Beach Safety

Visiting the coast on holiday – know what to do in a coastal emergency

What are the advantages of an EPIRB (Electronic Position Indicator Radio Beacon)

What is an EPIRB ?(Electronic Position Indicator Radio Beacon)

An EPIRB works in a similar way to that of a Personal Locator Beacon (PLB). The EPIRB is activated when a sailor gets into difficulty out at sea.  The EPIRB uses the search and rescue satellites to send a digital message (including your unique number) to the Coastguard that clearly indicates that you’re in trouble.

What frequency does it work on?

406MHz distress frequency. It also operates using a 121.5MHz frequency, which means lifeboats can home in on the device once they get closer. The beacon is a recognised way of ‘calling for help’ by Search and Rescue services.

Registration of the EPIRB

You must register the EPIRB with the vessel you are using. It is not registered to a person like a PLB, and if you change vessel, then you will have to re-register. You can register your EPIRB here

How long will the battery last in an EPIRB?

Normally for a minimum of 48 hours.

What happens if the EPIRB is activated and help is needed?

The distress signals are passed to the Mission Control Centre (MCC) in the National Maritime Operations Centre (NMOC) in Fareham. They will first attempt to call you using your contact information to check it’s not a false alarm. If it’s not they will launch a rescue operation. The 406MHz system gives the Coastguard a much more accurate idea of your position (if GPS enbled they will track your vessels position to within 100m.

What happens if the EPIRB is not GPS enabled?

If not GPS enabled it could take 90 minutes to get a fix); they will also know what to look for from your registered information and will be on the way much more quickly – 406MHz beacons show up quicker than the old 121.5MHz ones.

Key features of an EPIRB:

  • can be float-free, automatic or manual
  • must be registered with HM Coastguard
  • always choose a GPS-enabled EPIRB
  • can be dropped next to a ‘man overboard’ to mark their position
  • fitted with a flashing light
  • radio direction finding equipment can be fitted and used to home in on to beacon

Each year on 4th April ‘406 Day’ is celebrated, a national campaign run by NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) to spread awareness of the importance of emergency position indicating radio beacons, or EPIRBS, and personal locator beacons, or PLBs, in marine safety

How to use my EPIRB?

Make sure your EPIRB is up-right in the water and not on it’s side.  Once you have switched it on leave it operating, do not switch it off.

What happens if I accidentally activate the EPIRB? 

If you accidentally activate your EPIRB inform the HM Coastguard straight away. The advice is not to switch it off until the Coastguard ask you to.

How to look after your EPIRB

Examine your EPIRB’s condition on a monthly basis and perform a self-test. Follow the manufacturer’s self-test instructions to the letter, to avoid sending a false alarm. Replace the battery when required.

Need more help with registering?

Contact The UK Beacon Registry
Telephone: 01326 211569
Fax: 01326 319264

More useful information

New National Maritime Operations Centre HM Coastguard

RNLI complete guide to EPIRB’s

Skipper rescued off Salcombe had done all the right things!

Distress alerts helps HM Coastguard yacht rescue in rough seas

HM Coastguard – office access and opening times


HM Coastguard


Ocean Signal

National Maritime Safety Week 1st – 9th July


What is National Maritime Safety Week?

Maritime Safety Week starts on Monday 1st July, but what is it all about?

On 31st May in a letter to the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport Nusrat Ghani MP (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State Department for Transport) wrote:

“the aim of Maritime Safety Week is to introduce a specific week targeted at safety issues which brings the industry together and provides a focus to highlight all the fantastic work that is already being done on a daily basis to ensure the safety of our seas and inland waterways”.  She added “All users of the maritime environment, from recreational mariners to casual beach goers, need to understand the risks. We recognise that these groups have very different safety needs and requirements and the scope of Maritime Safety Week is similarly broad”.

Ramsgate All Weather Trent Lifeboat “Esme Anderson” (14-02)

Picture credit: Sarah Hewes

What are we doing to support this week?

We will be sharing good practice throughout the week via social meda, looking at safety equipment such as lifejackets, calling for help devices and top tips to help keep you safe whilst on the water and support the RNLI 50% reduction in drownings by 2024.  Our team are also attending the Dover Marina weekend on Saturday 6th July to undertake a lifejacket clinic. So, stay tuned to find out more.

More useful links:

Maritime Safety Week – Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport

Maritime Safety – HM Coastguard – Keeping safe at the coast: lifejacket wear

Society of Maritime Industries – Maritime Safety Week

RNLI – Choose your activity

RNLI Drowning Prevention Strategy – Educate, Influence, Supervise and Rescue those at risk from drowning.

Drowning Prevention Week 14th – 24th June

One of our Water Safety Stand’s at Gravesend Gurdwara

Friday (14th June) marks the start of Drowning Prevention Week.  This has been created by the Royal Life Saving Society UK (RLSS UK) will see a deluge of water safety activity flood the UK and Ireland from 14 – 24 June, 2019.

The national campaign aims to ensure everyone knows how to have fun and stay safe near water, and a host of free resources have been produced to help supporters promote water safety.

In 2018 two hundred and sixty three people died from accidental drowning, males make up two hundred and thirty fatalities.  Source : National Water Safety Forum

One of our team addressing a coach party on water safety at Margate main sands

Our team are hugely proud to play it’s part in trying to reduce this figure and will be holding a Pop-Up Water Safety stand on Saturday 15th June at Viking Bay, Broadstairs from 10:00am onwards.

Andy Mills one of the Thanet Community Safety Volunteers said “It is so important to remind people to stay safe near water, especially at this high-risk time of year. We are only only to happy to be involved with Drowning Prevention Week”.

RLSS UK’s Director of Education, Mike Dunn, said: “Most people are surprised to learn that you are more likely to die from drowning than you are from being hit by a car or in a fire. We urge as many people as possible to take advantage of the pop-up stand run by the local Community Safety Team and learn what could be potentially lifesaving skills. We thank the Thanet Team for getting involved with the campaign, and for helping people learn the skills they need to stay safe and enjoy the water”.

More information on the Drowning Prevention Week

HM Coastguard beach and water safety

RNLI Respect the Water

Find out where are RNLI lifeguarded beaches

Sign up to the awesome Thanet RNLI Newsletter

Don’t Drink and Drown campaign in Thanet


Volunteers’ Week has landed

(Pictured above) Neil – RNLI Community Safety Advisor

Welcome to the start of Volunteers’ Week which is a chance to celebrate and say thank you for the fantastic contribution millions of volunteers make across the UK.  It takes place 1-7 June every year and is an opportunity to celebrate volunteering in all its diversity.

During the week we will be introducing you to some members of our team. Today, we would like to introduce you to Neil.  Neil is our throw bag trainer (Community Responder Scheme) who is responsible for training members of staff from bars, cafes and restaurants in how to use throw bags as part of the RNLI scheme to make water rescue equipment available at key venues to rescue a person should they end up in the water for whatever reason. Inaddition to this traning Neil can also be seen at events helping to share key safety messages on how to stay safe whilst enjoying time at the coast.  He is also a long serving member of the Ramsgate All Weather Lifeboat crew, available 24/7 on a pager to answer emergency calls saving lives at sea.  Neil also helps run the fantastic Thanet Lifeguard Club which is a hugely successful lifesaving club affliated to the Royal Lifesaving Society.

RNLI Community Safety Volunteer’ Week

Don’t Drink and Drown initiative around Ramsgate and Margate

RNLI Volunteers Vacancies Page

Find out how to volunteer for the HM Coastguard Team

Visiting the coast whilst on holiday? Know what to do in a coastal emergency.

Water Safety Stand at Ramsgate Mayday Coffee Morning

Our team will be supporting the Ramsgate RNLI Fundraisers Mayday Coffee Morning on Saturday 11th May 10:00am-1.00pm at Ramsgate Lifeboat Station. The coffee morning includes tours around the boathouse (subject to operational commitments) an RNLI Shop stand, bric-a-brac and of course tea/coffee and cake for just £2.50 a ticket which is all helping to fund the new lifeboat crew kit. Our team will be on hand to share water safety advice, lifejacket checks, learn the best way of ‘calling for help’ in an emergency and how to ‘float to live‘ plus lots more.

More information on the great work that the Ramsgate Fundraisers get up to can be found via this link to their facebook page.

Yummy cakes and coffee available at the Ramsgate RNLI Mayday Coffee Morning