Thanet RNLI Community Safety

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




HM Coastguard


Saturday morning beach clean, tyres & cups of tea
The absolutely fantastic Joss Bay Beach – pretty clean or so we thought!

On Saturday morning I found myself over at Joss Bay, helping out with the Broadstairs Town Team beach clean. Although, the sun was out and beautiful blue skies were shaping up nicely, the very harsh and bitterly cold wind, which had been widely forecast was blowing across Joss BayJoss Bay is arguably one of Thanet’s finest beaches, home to the fantastic Surf School and very popular during the Summer months.  Broadstairs Town Team, similar to a growing number of commmunity groups, carry out awesome work, helping to improve the local environment making it a better place to live, work and visit. If you haven’t already have a quick look at what they are up to.

Beach cleans – what happens?

Just incase you haven’t ventured out onto a beach clean before. They comprise of a short health and safety briefing, issue of kit essential to the task eg bags, rubbish grabber, gloves, high viz jacket and then it’s down to you to crack on.

What we found

Hunting for litter – just some of the things we found!

Any old tyres?

Surprisingly, despite the beach and car park looking pretty clean (so, we thought), the above illustrates the amount of rubbish etc that we managed to collect, including the old tyre and plenty of old rope.  Incase you weren’t aware of how long a plastic bag takes to degrade here is an interesting link.

Delivering Coastal safety messages to beach clean volunteers

It was also great to speak with the beach clean volunteers about some of the RNLI’s key safety messages, including ‘float not swim’, ‘Respect the Water‘ and tidal safety considerations.

After securing all the litter that we had collected in one place, it was time to head for home for a well deserved cup of tea. Hope to see you again soon.  Thank you

My top 5 reasons why its good to get involved in a beach clean:

  1.   Grab some free exercise (you can even bring your doggie along out of the peak season)
  2.   Extend your social circle by meeting new people
  3.   Contribute to helping the local community and environment look and feel better
  4.   Be part of something on your door step that globally helps to protect and conserve the marine environment and its species
  5.   It’s free to attend and is a quick and easy way to volunteer your time for a very good cause

Don’t forget you can get involved in future beach cleans by checking out the Broadstairs Town Team Facebook page. The Great British Beach Clean is happening on the 3rd weekend of September. Check their website on how you can take part.

The Thanet Coast Project has a whole host of interesting events taking place this year, why not have a look at what’s on?

Find out more information about how you can become a Big Spring Beach Clean Leader 

Big Spring Beach Clean April 2018

Other useful websites: Surfers Against Sewage, Marine Conservation Society, RNLI beach safety 

Walpole Bay Bathing Group