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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Stay At Home – Protect The NHS – Save Lives

Many apologies for the delay in writing another blog post, but some of our team are key workers and have been pretty busy in their day job working to help protect the public from COVID-19.

We hope that everyone is keeping safe and well; and looking after your loved ones where possible! These continue to be challenging times, with everyone having to adapt to new ways of living and going about their daily business.  It won’t have escaped your notice, but there have been some ingenius ways of coping with life whilst staying at home.


A plethora of community based support groups have sprung up, not to mention the growing popularity of virtual entertainment social media channels offering everything from cooking classes, children’s activities, schooling, fitness groups, dancing, pub quiz’s, drama and music sessions to name a few.  The RNLI are running their own ‘Water Safety Wednesday for children each week via their Facebook page.

Ramsgatelifeboat communitysafety tidetimes seasafety coastguard visitthanet
Ramsgate Lifeboat Station and All Weather Boat. Picture credit: Thanet RNLI Community Safety. Photo captured before COVID-19

As you will be aware the RNLI announced that all their stations, shops and engagement activity will be suspended until further notice follwing advice from HM Government.  This includes our drowning prevention work and water safety activity. Rest assured RNLI Crews, maintenance engineers, the supply team and HM Coastguard teams are continuing to provide an operational emergency service 24/7.

Thanetcommunitysafety Coastguard RNLI Thanet
Coastguard teams practising a water rescue. Photo credit: Greenock HM Coastgaurd Team

Duty Crew System – Lifeboat Station’s

I read this morning on one station’s social media page that they had introduced a ‘duty crew’ system: reducing the number of crew that respond to the pager launch request from the Coastguard so the risk of cross contaimination is reduced.

COVID19thanet Coronavirus Margatelifeboat ramsgatelifeboat margatelifeboatstation ramsgatelifeboatstation inshorelifeboat allweatherlifeboat respectthewater thanetlifeguards RNLIcommunitysafety RNLISeasafety RNLIwatersafety RNLIpager shout servicecall mayday 999coastguard
RNLI Pager

Simply, crews will be split into teams or ‘watches’ with the appropriate number of women/men with key skills:  eg launch authority, coxswain, helmsmen, mechanic, navigator, tractor driver, or head launcher allocated to each team to provide the operational readiness.  Other safety measures will have been introduced at other stations to help mitigate risks where possible, but ensuring the lifeboat(s) and crews are able to maintain their search and rescue capability.

RNLIcommunitysafety seasafety blogs Coastguard swimsafe Ramsgate Margate Thanet Broadstairs
Ramsgate Inshore Lifeboat – Atlantic 85 class (ILB) returning from a service call Summer 2019.

Minimising the risk to yourself and family

In line with the Government’s guidance on minimising the risk to yourself, family and others the Coastguard have said that visits to the beach should only be undertaken by those who live close to them.   If you do live close to coast please observe the government’s instructions which are available via the Public Health England site and maintain the 2 metre social distance if you meet anyone on your walk, run or cycle.


Pete Mizen, assistant director for HM Coastguard, said: “The rules are very simple. The risk of spreading coronavirus is huge and while you might be OK, the person you give it to may not.

margatehmcoastguardteam Hmcoastguard Knowwhotocall lifeboats RNLICommunitySafety Seasafety
HM Coastguard Officers dressed water safety kit during mult-agency exercise Photo Credit: Margate Coastguard Team (picturen taken before COVID-19)

“And if you get into trouble and have to call ‘999’ and ask for the Coastguard, you’re then putting frontline emergency responders at risk of Covid-19 too.  At this time of the year the beaches aren’t lifeguarded which is a double risk to you and our emergency responders. Help us to help you.”


RNLI – Pausing Beach Lifeguard Patrols

You may also have read that the RNLI are “immediately pausing” lifeguard patrols at beaches, and other public organisations such as councils and tourist groups have also taken steps to try to deter people from visiting.



I am sure that you will all join our team in thanking all the key workers who are keeping the country going, protecting us, maintaining our emergency services and making sure we have got the essential supplies to keep everyone healthy and well.  So, whichever organisation, health service, company, charity, volunteer group or agency you work or volunteer for thank you very much for everything you are doing!

Rest assured our team are still working to share water safety and drowning prevention information via our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram platforms. If you do hear or see an animal or person who is in difficulty in the water at the coast dial ‘999’ straight away and ask for the Coastguard.

Please stay safe and thank you very much for reading.

keyworker COVID19thanet COVID19 RNLICommunitySafety RNLIWatersafety RNLISeasafety Respectthewater Thanetlifeguards Lifejackets RNLI margatelifeboat Ramsgatelifeboat coastaldogsafety beachsafety RNLILifeguardsthanet
Picture taken at Margate Blue Light Community Day 2019 – (photo credit Thanet RNLI Community Safety Team)

Other useful links (to help you keep safe if you live close to the coast)

Out for a coastal walk – how to stay safe and have a great time!

Don’t paddle after your dog

How do I call for help by phone at the coast?

Sign up to the newsletter –  Thanet RNLI Community Safety Team’s work

knowwhotocall respectthewater RNLIwatersafety RNLICommunitysafety RNLIseasafety Ramsgatelifeboat Margatelifeboat Bewateraware Broadstairsbeach margatebeaches ramsgatebeaches COVID19Thanet COVID19 Coronavirus



HM Coastguard

Ramsgate Lifeboat Station

Margate Lifeboat Station

RNLI Thanet Community Safety Team Attend Cornwallis East Kent Freemasons Charity Award Presentations for Swim Safe Donation

The RNLI Thanet Community Safety Team were invited by the Provincial Grand Master of the Masonic Province of East Kent, Right Worshipful Brother Neil Hamilton Johnston to the Cornwallis East Kent Freemasons Charity Award Presentations at the Cathedral Lodge at Canterbury Cathedral on Saturday 16th November. We were among several other worthy charities from around the county who each received generous donations from this charitable organisation. The RNLI Thanet Community Safety team are very grateful as the donation contribute towards the Swim Safe Scheme, which this year allowed 1,008 children to have swimming lessons at Margate Beach.

During the ceremony, 16 charities gave presentations about the good works that they each did. John Homer from our team gave a presentation about Swim Safe, how it was delivered and how important the charitable contribution was to the welfare and confidence of each child taking part. 

 Andy Mills, RNLI Thanet Community Safety Officer said, ‘Swim Safe is a fantastic programme that helps to keep children safe. It gives each child greater awareness of how to enjoy the sea safely. It’s an integral part of our Community Safety plan.’

 He added, ‘Since its inception last year it has grown from 500 children taking part to 1,008 this year. Nationally 22,000 young people took part in a Swim Safe session this Summer. Without the generous support of organisations like the Cornwallis East Kent Freemasons Charity, we would not be able to deliver these sessions …so from everyone on our team…thank you so much.’

Picture shows John Homer (Left), Ian Lockyer (right) (RNLI Thanet Community Safety Team) with Provincial Grand Master of the Masonic Province of East Kent, Right Worshipful Brother Neil Hamilton Johnston (Middle)

The Cornwallis East Kent Freemasons Charity website is currently in development, but you can find out contact details for the charity there:

To find out more about Swim Safe

Stay tuned to our website and social media pages about Swim Safe Thanet coming next year.

Thanks to Ian Lockyer for writing this informative blog!

Lifeguards last weekend patrolling beaches before closing down for the winter

This weekend (31st Aug and 1st Sept) sees the last two days that lifeguards will be patrolling Thanet’s beaches before they shut down for the winter period. If you are thinking of making the most of the last weekend before the children go back to school or perhaps grabbing that last minute break to the coast then here are some top tips to help keep you and your family safe:

  1. Visit a lifeguarded beach and chat to the lifeguard for essential safety information
Beach Safety Flags

2.  Know your beach flags and take on board the advice

  3.  Read any warning signs when you arrive at the beach and heed the advice at all times

4.  Rip currents are powerful currents of water moving away from the shore.

  • Don’t try to swim against it or you’ll get exhausted.
  • If you can stand, wade don’t swim.
  • If you can, swim parallel to the shore until free of the rip and then head for shore.
  • Always raise your hand and shout for help.


5.  Always carry a ‘calling for help device’ whatever activity you are undertaking so that you can summon help straight away as every second counts.

6.  If you fall into the water unexpectedly or get into difficulty in the water float for your life

7.  Keep inflatables for the pool.  More information on inflatables

8. If you should hear or see an animal or person in the water in difficulty, don’t go in after them call ‘999’ or 112′ and ask for the Coastguard at the Coast.  If there is any rescue equipment nearby such as a throwline or life buoy try to throw this to the person in the water without putting yourself in danger.  More information on what to do if you saw someone in difficulty in the water

9. Whatever water related activity you are taking part in always wear a lifejacket or buoyancy aid.  Lifejackets are useless unless worn!

10.  Do you remember the 5 top tips to help keep your children safe at the beach? The above is a reminder.

We look forward to seeing the lifeguards patrolling the beaches again next Summer.

Other useful links:

Wrist bands – know how to relocate your lost child

Know who to call for a coastal emergency

Our ultimate guide to finding a lifeguarded beach in Thanet


J Homer


Swim Safe enjoys a penultimate water safety day at Margate plus a visit from local dignitaries

Swim Safe has been taking place at Margate main sands since July every Monday and Friday and has proved highly popular. On Friday (23rd August) our team popped down to support the programme and also to chat to other beach visitors about key water safety messages ahead of the bank holiday weekend.  The Swim Safe programme is run at various sites across the country and children learn about aspects of water safety and how to swim safely in open water for no charge.

Picture credit: Haddon Dene School

Margate main sands is such a lovely beach and is an ideal location for Swim Safe to take place as even at high tide there is still a large expanse of sand available to use and is close to public transport links. Margate Swim Safe is also very lucky to have the highly experienced swim teaching team led by Gail Crompton from the Ocean Swim School leading all classes.

Margate Mayor Mick Tomlinson chatting to Swim Safe participants

It was marvellous to host a visit from Councillor Liz Hurst and the Mayor of Margate Mick Tomlinson. Both of whom are huge Swim Safe supporters enabling the scheme to operate and it was great to talk through the programme and see it in action.

Liz and Mick enjoying the selfie frame

Swim Safe’s very last day of operation is Friday 30th August with the first session of the day starting at 9:30am.  There are still places available throughout the day, so if you haven’t booked your child(ren) onto Swim Safe yet, this is the last opportunity before it closes down for the winter. You can book on-line or walk-up and speak with the Co-ordinator.

Photo Credit: Haddon Dene

The only qualification your child(ren) has to fufill is that they must be able to swim 25 metres unaided in a pool.  Participants are given a wet suit, rash vest and hat to wear during the session free of charge which are returned at the end (apart from the hat which they are welcome to keep).  Teaching is conducted on the sands initially and then progressing into the water. All of the feedback Gail and her team have received throughout the Summer’s programme has been very positive and is an ideal opportunity to learn essential water safety drills such as Float to Live and open water swim techniques.

Chatting to beach visitors

As well as supporting the Swim Safe sessions we were able to chat with other beach visitors about how to stay safe whilst at the coast which was fabulous to do. Passing on information about the different beach flags, who to call should you see someone in the water in difficulty,  the role of the lifeguards and also handing out the hugely popular children’s water proof wrist bands which carry the parent/guardian mobile telephone number should they get separated.

Children’s waterproof wrist bands

It proved a very succesful and enjoyable day spent on the beach helping to keep people safe.  Thank you to everyone we spoke with for their time and to all of whom attended the Swim Safe sessions which we hope you enjoyed.

Other useful links

Book your Swim Safe session

Why inflatables are not designed for the beach

Margate Swim Safe kicks off with a flying start

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

Can I suffer from cold water shock?


Swim England


Margate Swim Safe Co-ordinators and Swim Safe Teachers

Beach Wrist Bands – how to relocate your lost child

During the Summer months our team have been visiting Thanet beaches chatting to beach visitors about coastal safety and how to ‘float to live’ as part of our on-going lifesaving interventions.

One of the topics that we also chat about is that of child safety whilst on the beach and inparticular issuing water proof wrist band which can carry the parents/guardian’s mobile telephone contact number.  Everyone we speak to really like the scheme and take one of the wrist bands for their child.  If our team are not on the beach you can obtain one of the wrist bands from most lifeguarded beaches.

The diagram above is a good reminder of some of the top safety tips for families whilst enjoying the beach.

More useful links:

Our Ultimate guide to finding a lifeguarded beach in Thanet

Why inflatables are not a good for the seaside



HM Coastguard


Our ultimate guide to finding a lifeguarded beach in Thanet

Welcome to our ultimate guide to finding a lifeguarded beach in Thanet.   Before we run through the lifeguarded beaches we thought we would refresh you on the Top 10 Safety Tips which should consider when visiting the beach:

  1.  Do you remember what the beach safety flags stand for?

   Red and white Prohibition sign – Do not enter the water at any time. Swimming and other water-related activities are not permitted.

2. Always swim and body board between the red and yellow flags on a lifeguarded beach

3. Never swim alone, always take a friend or family member

4. Always read and obey the safety signs, usually found at the beach entrance. These will help you  avoid potential hazards on the beach and identify the safest areas for swimming.

5.  Should you get into difficulty float on your back (‘Float to Live’), once you have got your breath back, stick your hand in the air and shout for help (international distress signal).

6.  If you see someone in difficulty, don’t attempt a rescue. Alert a lifeguard straight away, or, if you can’t see a lifeguard, call ‘999’ or ‘112’ and ask for the Coastguard.

7. Inflatable Safety – Inflatables are designed for pools and not the sea where they can easily be swept out. If you do use them at the beach, check out our blog to help keep you safe

8.  Know about Cold Water Shock and how it can affect you. More information check out the video below:

10.   Missing children are a regular issue for lifeguards and the Coastguard during Summer months. Five top tips to keep your children safe at the beach

RNLI Lifeguard Supervisor Stuart Cattell

Here is a comprehensive list of the lifeguarded beaches in Thanet. All links are to the Beach Guide and Google Maps.

Botany Bay – CT10 3LG

Google Maps

Lifeguard Cover : 25th May – 1st September 2019 10:00am-6pm

Joss Bay Beach – CT10 3PG

Google Maps

Lifeguard Cover: 25th May – 1st September 2019 10:00am-6pm

Margate Main Sands – CT9 1XP

Google Maps

Lifeguard Cover: 25th May – 1st September 2019 10:00am-6pm

Minnis Bay – CT7 9QR

Google Maps

Lifeguard Cover: Weekends and Bank holidays only 25th May – 30th June 2019

Daily – 6th July -1st September patrol times 10:00am-6pm

Ramsgate Main Beach – CT11 8JD

Google Maps

Lifeguard Cover: Weekends and Bank holidays only 25th May – 30th June 2019

Daily – 6th July -1st September patrol times 10:00am-6pm

St Mildred’s Bay – CT8 8AU

Google Maps

Lifeguard cover: Weekends and Bank holidays only 25th May – 30th June 2019

Daily – 6th July -1st September patrol times 10:00am-6pm

Stone Bay Beach – CT10 1ED

Google Maps

Lifeguard Cover: Weekends and Bank holidays only 25th May – 30th June 2019

Daily – 6th July -1st September patrol times 10:00am-6pm

Viking Bay (Broadstairs) – CT10 1NB

Google Maps

Lifeguard Cover: 25th May – 1st September 2019 10:00am-6pm

West Bay (Westgate-on-Sea) Beach – CT8 8QG

Google Maps

Lifeguard Cover: Weekends and Bank holidays only 25th May – 30th June 2019

Daily – 6th July -1st September patrol times 10:00am-6pm

Westbrook Bay Beach – CT9 5DW

Google Maps

Lifeguard Cover: Weekends and Bank holidays only 25th May – 30th June 2019

Daily – 6th July -1st September patrol times 10:00am-6pm


More useful links:

RNLI Lifeguards are patrolling daily Kent beaches

How to become a lifeguard?

Thanet Lifeguard Club

Broadstairs Surf Lifesaving Club

How To Pack The Best Beach Picnic – Our Top 10 Tips

You may have travelled to the beach for a lovely day. After you are finally ensconced and you and your family have started enjoying the surroundings, before you know it will be time to grab some lunch.  Coming prepared with a few items is always a good move that can be stored until you want to eat. Especially when you have a young family who need fuelling up after some energetic beach activity.  Packing a picnic for the beach is not like packing one for a countryside picnic as there is the sand and wind to contend with and some foods hold up better than others.

We have come up with a few ideas on what some of our team include in their family beach picnic’s.

  1.  Sausage rolls (vege or meat)
  2.  Cocktail sausages (vege or meat)
  3.  Tuna baguettes or wraps
  4.  Baby tomatoes
  5.  Variety of crisps or peanuts
  6.  Humous and or other dips
  7.  Carrotts and cucumber sliced for dipping
  8.  Water/flavoured squash
  9.  Fruit
  10.  Cookies or small cakes

Here’s a quick reminder about beach flags and the Water Safety Code:

We hope you have a great time at the beach and enjoy your picnic.

Other useful links:

Sign-up to our Community Safety team newsletter

Inflatables – what are the issues? Royal Society for the prevention of accidents (RoSPA)

Find out how to book free swimming lessons for children aged 7-14 years – Swim Safe

Are you water wise? Check out the quiz – RoSPA

Swim Safe- Free Swimming Lessons for children aged 7-14 years old

We are stoked that Swim Safe in Margate is starting on 22nd July. ➡️Still a few spaces available to book.⬅️ Once they’ve gone they gone😀 A fantastic opportunity for children aged 7-14 years to receive FREE swimming lessons in the sea by some fantastic swimming teachers with years of experience and stacks of knowledge. Make sure you book yours before it’s too late. Please share amongst family, friends and work colleagues. 🏊‍♀️🏊‍♂️

Useful Links

Book your swimming spaces

Find your nearest lifeguarded beach

Find out about last years Swim Safe

How to survive cold water shock

4 Top Hacks To Help Keep You Safe At The Coast


These four top hacks in the form of the Water Safety Code will help keep you safe whilst at the coast. The Water Safety Code is shared by the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI), Royal Lifesaving Society Society (RLSS) and Swim England – all key Drowning Prevention and Water Safety organisations.   It is integral in helping to keep people safe at the coast or at any stretch of water.

Water Safety Code

  1.   STOP and THINK – Look for dangers. Always Read The Signs




2.  STAY TOGETHER – Never Swim Alone. Always go with friends or family

3.   IN AN EMERGENCY : Shout for help if you are in difficulty, call ‘999’ or ‘112’ ask for the Coastguard at the Coast or Fire Service inland


4.   If you fall in, Float on your back, ‘Float to live’  – check out the video below. Throw something that floats to anyone who has fallen in.

More information on drowning prevention

HM Coastguard Safety Advice At The Coast

Free Swimming Lessons In Thanet

National Water Safety Forum

Where Can I Find A Lifeguarded Beach In Kent


Building new relationships to help save lives at sea!
Recent visit to Ride Cycle Hire, Margate

Over the past week has seen our team busy preparing for the start of the Summer. We have been out and about carrying out visits to businesses and local organisations, building new relationships and refreshing others, whereby they can help spread our key safety messages to their customer base. One of these new exciting relationships is with Ride Cycle Hire, Margate. They are situated at Margate Railway Station and hire out cycles to people who want to explore the lovely coastal routes around East Kent. Ride Cycle Hire have agreed to hand out our safety leaflets, stickers and badges with every bike hiring.

Jet Ski World, Hodges Gap, Palm Bay, Margate

A second example of a newly formed relationship is with Jet Ski World, based in Palm Bay, Margate. They run a personal water craft centre, which is particularly busy at weekends and during school holidays.  We are looking at running an engagement briefing with one of our RNLI qualified personal water craft instructors in the near future. Stay tuned to our website for more details.

Viking Bay, Beach Inspector

Our third key meeting was with one of the new Beach Inspectors, Sharon, for Viking Bay, Broadstairs.  The Beach Inspector is absolutely pivotal in helping us get our safety messages out to beach users. The Beach Inspector is employed by the Your Leisure team. Viking Bay, is one of the busiest beaches in Thanet and attracts a large number of visitors during the Summer holiday period. The Beach Inspector will be working in partnership with our RNLI lifeguards who will be on duty from the end of May onwards.

A big thank you to Ride Cycle Hire, Jet Ski World and Sharon the Beach Inspector for their time this week. By continuing to build and sustain these relationships with trusted local businesses, organisations and individuals we are striving to help make Thanet’s coastline a safer place to visit and enjoy.

Useful Links for safety at the coast:

Coastguard Safety Top Tips

Respect the Water

Float Not Swim

Cold Water Shock

Find my nearest lifeguarded beaches