Thanet RNLI Community Safety

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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Do You Enjoying Bodyboarding? Here’s How To Stay Safe

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.

Margate Community Blue Light Day exercise 2019 – Photo credit: Sarah Hewes

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”.

Useful statistics

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.

 

Ramsgate’s Atlantic 85 Inshore Lifeboat

Useful links

British Bodyboarding Club

British Surfing

Surfing England

British Surfing UK Surfing Guide

Surfers Against Sewage

 

Acknowledgements

RNLI

HM Coastguard

 

How To Enjoy A Fabulous & Safe Time At The Coast This Summer – Our Ultimate Guide

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.

Inflatables

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

Beach Safety

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:

  • Check the weather and tide times via tides near me app 
  • Carry a means of calling for help eg fully charged mobile phone in a waterproof case
  • Let someone know where you are going and the latest time you will return
  • Wear the right clothing and equipment for the activity
  • Be aware of your surroundings at all times and take noice of hazard warning signs
  • If you should hear or see an animal or person in difficulty in the water or at the coast dial ‘999’ or ‘112’ straight away and ask for the Coastguard every second counts
  • If you do get cut-off by the tide don’t enter the water, but dial ‘999’ ask for the Coastguard
  • If you fall into the water unexpectedly float on your back and follow the float to live principles

Don’t Drink and Drown

If you are enjoying a drink whilst at the coast make sure you take onboard the safety advice mentioned above.  Mixing swimming and alcohol could have dire consquences.  Find out more about the Don’t Drink and Drown campaign

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”.

Other useful links

How do I prevent being cut-off by the tide?

Find your nearest lifeguarded beach

Why inflatables are not designed for the beach

It’s hot out there – what to do if you get into difficulty

Acknowledgements

RNLI

How Do I Prevent Being Cut-Off By The Tide?

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

  1. Always check the tide times before venturing out via ‘tides near me’ or the BBC Weather page
  2. Tell someone where you are going and when you will be back
  3. Carry a means of calling for help such as a fully charged mobile phone or VHF radio
  4. Consider downloading the free RYA ap called SafeTrx that helps let people know your route
  5. Wear the right clothing and equipment for the activity
  6. Check and be mindful of local hazard warning signs
  7. Be aware of your surroundings at all times, eg when the tide is due in and dangerous cliff edges
  8. If you see or hear someone or an animal in danger at the coast dial ‘999’ or ‘112’ straight away  and ask for the Coastguard giving an accurate location
  9. Do not enter the water if you get cut-off by the tide
  10. If you do end up in the water unexpectedly, float on your back rather than panicking

tidalcutoff thanetrnlicommunitysafety RNLI Lifeboats drowningprevention RLSS ROSPA watersafety
Kingsgate Bay, Broadstairs – Tidal Cut-Off High Risk area

More useful links

Ramsgate Lifeboat Station

How To Float To Live – Evan’s Story

HM Coastguard Beach Safety

Where Can I Find The Nearest Lifeguard Beach

Why inflatables are not for use at the Beach – Thanet RNLI Community Safety Team

Helping to deter tidal cut-off’s in Thanet

 

Inflatables aren’t designed for the beach!

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:

  1.  They are only used near to the shore and between the red and yellow flags on a lifeguarded beach
  2.   Children are safely supervised at all times
  3.   Never take inflatables out in big waves
  4.   Never use them when the orange windsock is flying as this indicates an offshore wind which will  blow the inflatables out to sea
  5.   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.

Find your nearest lifeguarded beach

How do the RNLI keep beaches safe

Find out how to stay safe at the coast

HM Coastguard inflatable safety advice

Acknowledgements to RNLI for the use of You Tube video and content

Community Safety Team helping to deter tidal cut-off’s

After two Lifeboat calls to tidal cut-off’s in and around the Kingsgate Bay area in the past seven days our team deployed their Incident Prevention Engagement (IPE) tactic on Sunday 12th May to the area.  This is a proven method of refreshing and reminding members of the public about tides, coastal safety and who to call in the event of a coastal emergency.   We enjoyed speaking with a range of people from the local area and also those visiting.  Some of those people we chatted with had checked the tide times before venturing out, had downloaded a tide app to their mobile smart device and knew to call the HM Coastguard in an emergency.

Chatting to Botany Bay kiosk owner Ross about our water safety work

Here are our top tips we chatted about on Sunday so that you can stay safe and have a great time whilst at the coast:

1.  Carry a means of calling for help eg fully charged mobile phone

2.  Check the tide times via the Tides Near Me App (available for Apple and Android devices)

3.  Tell someone the latest time you will be returning and your route

4.  Wear the right kit for the activity

5. Be aware of your surroundings at all times and heed local warning signage

6. If you are in any doubt whether an animal or person is in difficulty in the water dial ‘999’ or ‘112’ ask for the Coastguard without delay every second counts

7. If you do unexpectedly end up in the water float on your back and resist the temptation to thrash around. More expert advice check out ‘float to live’.

Many dog owners use the beautiful local bays to enjoy walks. It is important to share our key safety messages amongst this group of not to enter the water if their doggie goes for an extended paddle

Coastal Safety stand at Mayday Coffee Morning

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.

Councillor Raushan Ara visiting the Mayday Coffee Morning

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:

  1. Check the tide times and weather before you set out
  2. Wear the right kit for the activity & grab some training if you are taking up a new activity from an approved provider
  3. Always carry a means of ‘calling for help’ eg fully charged mobile phone
  4. Tell someone your plans eg when is the latest time that you will be back home
  5. Be aware of your surroundings at all times and heed local safety warnings
  6. If the event of hearing or seeing a person or animal in difficulty at the coast or in the water always dial ‘999’ or ‘112’ ask for the Coastguard without delay every second counts
  7. If you do end up in the water unexpectedly float on your back and float to live.

We would like to pass on our thanks to the Fundraising Team for inviting us along which was appreciated.

The Miss Ramsgate’s visiting the Coffee Morning and were presented with Respect the Water badges which they proudly wore.
Visiting the coast whilst on holiday – know what to do in a coastal emergency?

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:

  1. Consider signing up for some training before undertaking any form of activity on the water from a recognised training provider
  2. Wear a buoyancy aid or properly serviced lifejacket
  3. Always carry a means of ‘calling for help’ eg mobile phone even if you walking along the coast or a VHF radio in a waterproof case if you are out on the water with flares and a Personal Locator Beacon
  4. Check the weather and tide times before you venture out
  5. Be aware of your surroundings at all times and heed local hazard warning signs
  6. If you should see or hear an animal or person in difficulty at the coast or in the water call ‘999’ and ask for the Coastguard giving an accurate location
  7. Download the SafeTrx App and use it to keep safe whilst swimming, kayacking, sailing or diving
  8. Always supervise your children when they are in the water
  9. Use a lifeguarded beach where possible
  10. If you do find yourself in the water unexpectedly always float to live

This blog is part of our commitment to supporting the National Fire Chief’s Drowning Prevention campaign week. Always check out all the #BeWaterAware social media postings for more safety advice.

Always be aware of your surroundings and local hazard warning signs
Half the people that accidentally drown never intended on entering the water!
RNLICommunitysafety RNLIWatersafety Bebeachsafe Dogwalking Thanetcoastguard Margatelifeboat ramsgatelifeboat RNLIVolunteers
Doggie’s enjoying the lovely beach – but would you enter the water if your dog got into difficulty?

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.

Coastal runners
The HM Coastguard, RNLI and UK Fire Service’s attend calls each year to people that have entered the water in an attempt to rescue their dog either at the coast or at inland waterways. Unfortunately, in some cases the owner enters the water and loses their life and the dog self-rescues. Advice from the HM Coastguard is not to enter the water if you are in any doubt that your dog is in difficulty, but to dial ‘999’ ask for the Coastguard. If you are inland call ‘999’ and ask for the Fire Service.
Roundup of September’s Lifeboat calls in Thanet

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.

Check tide times, warns RNLI after calls to help dozens in just three days!

Tide Cut Off

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.

Ramsgate’s Atlantic 85 Inshore Lifeboat

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:

Ramsgate RNLI website

Ramsgate RNLI Facebook page, daily tidal updates and stay up-to-date on their latest shouts

Float Not Swim safety tips

BBC Weather tide tables

Visit Thanet tidal information

Alternative tide times website

Coastguard Coastal Safety

UK Met Office tide times

Beach safety Information RNLI