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.
Tidal cut off is a significant cause of call outs for RNLI lifeboats and also to Coastguard Rescue Teams throughout the year. People are often unaware that they are in potential danger and are ill prepared.
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.
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”.
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.
How To Enjoy A Fabulous & Safe Time At The Coast This Summer – Our Ultimate Guide
Just recently we’ve been very fortunate to enjoy some really nice weather and higher temperatures. Hurrah I hear you say! This has resulted in large numbers of people flocking to the beach to soak up the sun and enjoy the seaside.
The RNLI (Royal National Lifeboat Institution), along with the HM Coastguard and all the Volunteer Beach Wardens who are helping to keep our beaches safe during COVID-19 want everyone to have a fabulous time, but to take on board some simple safety advice which will enable you to enjoy a safe time too.
You may have read some of the media reports that the RNLI have rescued countless people on inflatables so far this year who have drifted out to sea. Two young people were safely rescued off Botany Bay, Broadstairs in July 2019. Our advice about taking inflatables to the coast is that they are meant for the pool and not the sea. If you do use them in the sea follow this advice:
Children should be supervised at all times by an adult
Inflatables should be kept close to the shoreline
Inflatables should only be used between the red and yellow flags on a lifeguarded beach
Never use an inflatable in big waves
Never use an inflatable when the orange windsock is flying as this indicates off-shore winds that will blow the inflatable out to sea
Always follow the advice of a lifeguard
Whenever you take to the sea we recommend that you and your children wear a suitable lifejacket or buoyancy aid. This will provide the necessary flotation should the inflatable suffer a puncture or similar
Float to Live
Enjoying a great swim in the sea is a fantastic way to relax and enjoy some exercise. However, if you do find yourself in difficulty or fall into the water unexpectedly remember to ‘Float to Live’ and watch this short video which could help save your life.
Cold Water Shock
Have you heard of ‘cold water shock’? This video will give you some lifesaving advice about ‘cold water shock’. Some tips to help you survive cold water shock include:
Take a minute. The initial effects of cold water pass in less than a minute so don’t try to swim straight away
Relax and float on your back to catch your breath. Try to get hold of something that will help you float
Keep calm then call for help or swim for safety if you’re able
Taking alittle time before you set up for the day to think about the five safety tips above will help you enjoy an enjoyable time. Lifeguards are frequently notified of missing children so having a plan incase a child goes missing is really worthwhile. Children’s waterproof wrist bands which carry their parents/guardians mobile telephone contact number are available from the Lifeguards at most beaches. Due to the COVID-19 situation the only beaches which are patrolled by RNLI lifeguards in Thanet are Viking Bay, Broadstairs and Margate Main Sands.
Knowing who to call in the event of hearing or seeing a person or animal in the water in difficulty or at the coast is so important. Over half the people we speak to during our events don’t know to dial ‘999’ or ‘112’ and ask for the Coastguard. Asking for another emergency service could waste vital minutes in getting specialist search and rescue teams; and the correct equipment to the scene quickly. More information on knowing who to call in a coastal emergency
Cut-Off by the tide
Around Thanet we are very lucky to have some beautiful coastline which is fabulous for walking and exploring. Similar to other parts of the UK, some of this coastline (Dumpton Gap, Stone Bay and environs, Botany Bay and Kingsgate Bay) gets cut-off by the in-coming tide and every year people have to be rescued by lifeguards and lifeboat crews. Getting cut-off by the tide is pretty easy to do unless you take some precautions:
John Homer one of our team’s most experienced Community Safety Advisors said “we hope everyone has an excellent time at the beach and the weather stays warm. Please take some time to think about the safety advice and have a plan if things go wrong. In 2019 two young people who were swept out to sea on an inflatable at Botany Bay knew how to ‘float to live’ definitely saved their lives”.
Getting cut-off by the tide is pretty easy to do unless you take some sensible precautions and plan ahead before you set off. All around the UK and Ireland there are areas that get cut-off by the tide very easily. Each year Ramsgate and Margate lifeboat crews are called to rescue people cut-off by the tide majority of the time around the Botany Bay, Kingsgate Bay, Stone Bay and Dumpton Gap areas.
Over half of the people we speak to when out and about don’t know to call ‘999’ or ‘112’ and ask for the Coastguard in any coastal emergency.
Here are our top 10 tips to help you from being cut-off from the tide
With people flocking to the coast when the temperatures increase and weather improves the number of people being rescued from a wide range of inflatables increases such as unicorns, flamingo’s and inflatable boats. Inflatables are not simply designed for the beach and it is easy to find yourself quickly swept out to sea.
The recent rescue of 5 year old girls at Minehead who had been swept one mile off shore
If you do choose to use an inflatable, the RNLI would like to remind people that:
They are only used near to the shore and between the red and yellow flags on a lifeguarded beach
Children are safely supervised at all times
Never take inflatables out in big waves
Never use them when the orange windsock is flying as this indicates an offshore wind which will blow the inflatables out to sea
Whenever you take to the sea the RNLI recommends that you and your children wear a suitable lifejacket or buoyancy aid. This will provide the necessary floatation should the inflatable suffer a puncture or similar.
One station in Hampshire in the Summer 2018 had to be called out to rescue four people from inflatables in trouble in just one day.
Saturday saw the fabulous Ramsgate RNLI Fundraisers Mayday Coffee Morning raising funds for new lifeboat crew kit. The coffee morning included free tours around the lifeboats, bric a brac stands, the super RNLI shop, lovely cake and coffee; and of course our Community Safety team sharing key safety messages. It was lovely to see Councillor Raushan Ara (Thanet District Councillor for Ramgsate) pop by and have a chat with our team. Raushan is hugely supportive of our team’s drowning prevention work and that of the RNLI and it was fabulous to have the opportunity to chat with her. Our team hugely enjoyed the morning chatting to visitors about water safety.
One of the most important safety messages we talked about was the recent tidal cut-off’s in and around Kingsgate Bay. Our top tips when visiting the coast are:
Visiting the coast whilst on holiday, a short break or just for the day is always a great opportunity to unwind and spend quality time with friends and or the family. Maybe you will take in a bracing coastal walk, take part in some form of water activity or out on the water? Sometimes whilst on holiday people will take risks around water which they wouldn’t normally do. Follow our top 10 tips to enable you to have a safe, but enjoyable time:
Consider signing up for some training before undertaking any form of activity on the water from a recognised training provider
Statistics reveal that half of people who accidentally drown in the UK never intended to enter the water. It is a fact that they were running, walking, fishing or cycling near water that put them at risk of drowning. So, Day Two of the National Fire Chief’s National Drowning Prevention Week focuses on those everyday activities that we all enjoy going out for a walk, run, cycle or angling. In 2017, 255 people died after slipping, tripping, falling or simply underestimating the risks associated with being near water. If you do end up in the water always float to live.
So, apologies for the lack of blog entries recently, I’ve been pretty busy what with several RNLI community events, my day job and spending two days working at the Southampton Boat Show on the RNLI’s Safety stand which will be subject to another later blog.
I thought I would give an insight into the recent work of the isle’s lifeboats (Ramsgate and Margate). There has been quite few people flocking to the coast due largely to the warm weather that we have been experiencing. The fantastic lifeguards have now finished for the season and therefore we have been reminding everyone to be that extra special careful as there isn’t the extra layer of beach safety cover available.
Round-up of recent lifeboat calls:
Monday 17th September – Approx 10:00hrs Margate ILB rescued two persons in the water between Reculver and Minnis Bay. 2nd call of the day this time for Margate’s AWB to a vessel which had broken down North of Margate which was towed to Ramsgate Harbour.
Sunday 16th September – Ramsgate ILB launched to an inflatable containing children blowing off Broadstairs. The ILB successfully located the inflatable and and conveyed the children safely back to shore.
Wednesday 12th September – Ramsgate ILB launched to 2 kayakers in difficulty off the main beach. On scene the ILB found the Cross Atlantic rowing boat practicing and in no difficulty. 2nd call of the day again for the ILB launched to a report of 6 persons cut off by the tide at Stone Bay. Whilst the ILB was making its way to Stone Bay they received a message that the 6 persons had made their own way out of difficulty.
Monday 10th September 01:13hrs Ramsgate ILB launched at the request of UK Coastguard to a report of a person in the water behind Wetherspoons, in a state of distress. The ILB carried out a shoreline search until stood down by UK Coastguard, when the person was reported to be safely ashore.
Wednesday 5th September 08:33hrs Ramsgate’s AWB launched to a Personal Location Beacon (PLB) with a reported position near the Thanet Offshore Windfarm. AWB made its way to the reported position, but before arriving on scene to carry out a search, a Windfarm vessel that was in the area retrieved the PLB from the water.
Sunday 2nd September 20:37hrs Ramsgate’s ILB was launched to a person in the water behind Wetherspoons. On scene the ILB stood by whilst the person decided was spoken with by Emergency Services. The person eventually decided to make their own way back to shore, where a police officer was waiting.
Sunday 2nd September – Approx 0900hrs – Margate’s AWB was called out to assist with the tow of a yacht with engine failure 7 miles West of Margate and drifting into shallow water off Reculver Towers. The yacht was towed to the safety of Ramsgate harbour.
Saturday 1st September – 22:34hrs Ramsgate’s ILB launched to a report of a person in difficulty at Viking Bay. Whilst making their way to Viking Bay, person was located ashore and ILB stood-down.
Saturday 1st September – Margate’s ILB was launched to an 18’ angling dinghy with engine problems around three miles off Westgate-on-Sea. Vessel was towed to its launching site.
Full acknowledgements to Ramsgate and Margate RNLI stations for use of their Facebook posts. For more information check out the respective RNLI station Facebook pages.
I hope you are enjoying this long spell of hot weather! It’s been lovely being able to sit outside and enjoy abit of al fresco dining for a change. Thinking back to the horrible winter we had to endure, we certainly deserve it!. The hot weather is certainly attracting lots of visitors to the coast, to soak up the sun, enjoy the beach and get involved in some great water based activities. Unfortunately, last weekend our lifeboat crews, lifeguards and Coastguard teams were kept busy with two calls to people being cut off by the tide at Stone Bay and Botany Bay.
Our advice is to check the tide times before you head out for your trip to the coast, to ensure that you stay safe. If you are at a lifeguarded beach, then why not go over and ask about the tide times and local safety information. It just may save someone’s life!
You can catch up on the RNLI Press Officers report detailing the incident where 50 people were cut-off by the tide at Botany Bay via this link.
Saturday also saw 8 people cut-off by the tide at Stone Bay. The Press Officers report can be found here.
Over half of the people we speak to don’t know who to call for a coastal emergency. Have a look at this video to remind you who to call. Calling the wrong emergency service will only add to the delay on starting a rescue or a search for a missing person or animal at sea. Make sure you call the Coastguard via ‘999’ everytime for any coastal emergency.
Find out more about staying safe at the coast by checking out these links:
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