Thanet RNLI Community Safety

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How to have a fabulous, but safe time at the coast with your dog

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.

What should I do to keep myself and my four legged friend safe?

So, to help keep yourself safe whilst enjoying a lovely walk with your doggie here are some safety tips:

  • Let someone know where you are going and what time you will be back
  • Be aware of your surroundings at all times, tides can sweep in very quickly
  • Read and take on board warning advice displayed at beach entrances
  • Keep your dog on a lead if you are walking close to cliff tops/edges or fast flowing rivers.
  • Check the tide times and weather before you head out. Thanet’s tidal cut-off high risk areas : Dumpton Gap, Botany Bay, Kingsgate Bay; and Stone Bay and environs

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  • Always carry a ‘calling for help’ device such as a fully charged mobile phone which is stored in a waterproof case which is easily accessible
  • If your dog enters the water or gets stuck in mud, don’t go in after them. Re-locate to a place of safety and call them – it is highly likely that your dog will get to safety themselvesCOVID19 CoronaVirus knowwhotocall respectthewater RNLIwatersafety RNLICommunitysafety RNLIseasafety Ramsgatelifeboat Margatelifeboat Bewateraware Broadstairsbeach margatebeaches ramsgatebeaches COVID19Thanet COVID19 Coronavirus

The compilation above shows RNLI dog rescues from 2018 Credit : RNLI

The above video clip shows a lady and her dog being rescued by New Brighton lifeboat after getting stuck in mud (February 2019). Coastguard Rescue Team Crosby were tasked but were stood down en-route.

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Rhyl Dog Rescue – Photo credit: RNLI

On August Bank Holiday weekend a dog was rescued by Rhyl lifeboat after swimming too far out to sea whilst trying to catch seagulls.  There was initial worry the owner would attempt to rescue the dog, but on the Coastguard’s advice, remained on the beach, keeping the dog in sight.

The lifeboat was launched within eleven minutes of the call, together with the volunteers from the Rhyl Coastguard rescue team.  The dog was happily reunited with it’s very grateful owner uninjured. 

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A lovely doggie and their owner visiting one of our Water Safety Events in 2019 Photo credit: Thanet RNLI community Safety

Ian Lockyer, one of our Community Safety Team who is a huge dog lover says “there is nothing like a walk along the coast with my dogs and family, but I always make sure that I have a plan should things go wrong.  If you do hear or see an animal or person in difficulty in the water don’t hesitate call ‘999’ and ask for the Coastguard”.

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Margate Inshore Lifeboat Photo credit: Margate Lifeboat

Coastal Dog Safety Events

From time to time our Community Safety Team run coastal dog safety events around the Thanet coast sharing safety advice by giving out free doggie treats and tennis balls. Keep tuned to our social media channels to find out when they are taking place. Twitter, Facebook and Instagram

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Thank you for reading and stay safe!

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Other useful links:

Half-term fun and dogs

Get involved in RNLI Community Safety?

Sign-up to our newsletter

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Our Community Safety Team enjoying chatting to dog walkers at Dumpton Gap in 2019

Acknowledgements

Royal National Lifeboat Institution

HM Coastguard

rnliwatersafety rnlicommunitysafety becoastsafe
Know Who To Call If You Spot Washed Up Military Ordnance or Discarded Pyrotechnics?
Know Who To Call If You Spot Washed Up Military Ordnance or Discarded Pyrotechnics At The Coast

Our team are regularly asked at events who to call in the event of someone finding legacy military ordnance or a marine pyrotechnic (flare) on the beach or in the sea.  Amongst some of the HM Coastguard’s multifaceted roles includes investigating objects which have been washed up onto the coastline which may present a danger to coastal users.  During a spate of bad weather legacy military ordnance is often washed up onto our beaches. From time to time discarded pyrotechnic’s are also discovered.

Military Ordnance washed up onto the beach – Photo credit: Greenock CG Rescue Team

HM Coastguard advice:

  • In all cases if you ever come across something at the coast or sea which you believe could be military ordnance or a marine pyrotechnic dial ‘999’ or ‘112’ straight away and ask for the Coastguard
  • Move away to a place of safety
  • Never touch the item or move it
  • Warn others of the possible danger
  • Always call for help if you are in any doubt whatsoever

Coastguard explosion proof box with kit (photo credit Greenock CG Rescue Team)

The Coastguard Operations Centre will then task one of their 24/7 on-call Coastguard Rescue Teams (CRT’s) to investigate the find.  Once on scene they will undertake an examination of the item to ascertain if it is either military ordnance or a discarded pyrotechnic.  If it is a pyrotechnic the item will be removed and transported for safe disposal.

Flares found on the beach – Picture credit: Adrossan Coastguard

If the CRT believe it is military ordnance they will request the attendance of an Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) team from the British Army or Royal Navy dependant on where the find is located.   Whilst setting up a cordon to ensure public safety awaiting the arrival of the military team.

Picture credit: HM Coastguard Margate

The military EOD team will conduct a thorough risk assessment and detailed examination of the item. The operator will either remove the item back to their base for safe disposal or carry out a controlled explosion at the scene with a safe cordon in place. Police and other other ‘blue light services’ may also be called upon to assist if required.

Further reading:

Controlled explosion for device washed up on Studland Beach

Selsey Coastguard controlled explosion on Medmerry Beach

HM Coastguard roles and responsibilities

Adrossan Coastguard WordPress – blog

How to dispose of time expired pyrotechnic’s (flares) – Thanet CS Team

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Acknowledgements

HM Coastguard

Margate, Greenock and Ardrossan Coastguard Rescue teams for pictures

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Sign-Up To Our Lifesaving Newsletter?

Sign up to the Thanet RNLI Community Safety E-Newsletter

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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We have already published several newsletters during 2020, and you can see the latest here:

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To subscribe to this newsletter all you have to do is click on the following link with some very basic details and you will be added automatically.

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The contact details that you provide will only be used to provide you with the email newsletter.  We will not use your data for any other purpose or pass on to any other company or party.

 

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Do You Know Where On the Isle of Thanet It Is Easy To Get Cut Off By The Tide?

Do You Know Where On the Isle of Thanet It Is Easy To Get Cut Off By The Tide?

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. 

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Atlantic 85 Inshore Lifeboat

What are the key area’s that can cause tidal cut off’s:

Causeways – access to an island that covers and uncovers during a tidal cycle

Sandbanks – flat sandy area’s with raised banks that allow the tide to flow in all around, potentially leaving you stranded

Headlands – headlands and rocky outcrops can create isolated bays. The bays can get cut off by an incoming tide, cliffs’ are hazardous if there is not a safe exit.  Headlands are where Thanet’s cut off points feature most prominently. It should be noted that you can become cut off by the tide at any area of the coastline and is still dangerous.

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An example of headland at Kingsgate Bay – one of Thanet’s tidal cut-off points Photo credit: Thanet RNLI Community Safety

Which are the prominent cut off points on the Isle of Thanet?

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Botany Bay – very popular with beach visitors all year round, but particularly during the Summer.  In the past beach goers have been cut off in the area just around from the ‘stacks’ towards White Ness.  The What3Words is: ///hooked.colleague.loses

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The foreground shows an area where people have been subject to tidal cut off’s in the past.  Our team member is pictured providing coastal cut off advice recently. Photo credit: Thanet RNLI CST

Kingsgate Bay – as highlighted on the map shown above. What3Words 

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Kingsgate Bay looking towards the arch. Photo credit: Thanet CST

A lifeboat call-out in the past resulted in a local man and his child being rescued by the Margate lifeboat crew who had been cut off just underneath the cliff at the Captain Digby.  The man had made a mistake with the tide times, but was carrying a mobile phone so that he could call ‘999’ to summon help and ask for the Coastguard quickly giving his precise location.

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Our team regularly visit Thanet’s cut off area’s to advise beach goers about tidal cut off’s and coastal safety

Stone Bay and environs –  One of our team who is also an Instructor with Broadstairs Surf Lifesaving Club was out on his board on a Sunday morning training session and came across a person who would have been cut off the tide if he hadn’t spotted them walking around the headland on an incoming tide.  The person heeded the advice and walked back to safety.

Stone Bay What3Words

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Low tide Dumpton Gap

Dumpton Gap – the area towards Ramsgate is the most prominent for cut off’s.  Whilst our team were on this beach two years ago carrying out one their Incident Prevention Engagement sessions they were made aware that a local lady and her dog had become cut off by the tide.  They quickly called the Coastguard via ‘999’ and the inshore lifeboat from Ramsgate was launched.  Thankfully the lady and her dog self rescued without injury before the lifeboat arrived on scene.  The lady admitted that she had read the tides wrong, particularly as it had been a Spring Tide.  Dumpton Gap What3Words

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Dumpton Gap

Please see below some safety tips which can help you stay safe whilst enjoying the coast.  Coastal walking is one of the most safest pastimes, but taking a few precautions will make the trip to the coast a day to remember for the right reason.

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Margate’s ‘D’ Class Inshore Lifeboat Photo credit: Margate Lifeboat
  1.  Check the tide times and weather before you head out
  2.  Carry a means of ‘calling for help’ such as a fully charged mobile phone or VHF radio in a waterproof case which is easily accessible
  3.  Tell someone where you are going and the latest time you will be back
  4.  Be aware of your surroundings at all times, tides can sweep in very quickly
  5.  Read and heed local warning signs often posted at the entrance to beaches
  6.  Wear the right kit for the activity as conditions can change quickly
  7.  If you get cut off by the tide, don’t enter the water, but call out for help
  8.  If you should see or hear an animal or person in difficulty in the water dial ‘999’ without delay and ask for the Coastguard giving as an accurate location as possible and describing the situation
  9.  If you end up in the water, try not to thrash around, float on your back until you get  your breath back and you can call out for help
  10.  Always observe the latest governmental advice re: COVID-19

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Please share these safety messages on social media or through chats that you may have with friends, relatives, visitors and work colleagues particularly from outside the area who may not readily appreciate how easily and dangerous getting cut off by the tide can be.  Please use #BeCoastSafe #BeBeachSafe where possible to highlight the post.

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Although, we have explored in this blog the bays/headlands which get cut-off by the tide in Thanet, we would like to reiterate that you should be aware that people have been cut off at other parts of the coast not just the ones described above.  Thank you for reading and stay safe everyone!

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Useful Links

Do you know how to check the tide times?

How to have a fabulous, but safe time at the coast with your dog

Thanet RNLI Community Safety Team help prevent four tidal cut-off’s

Sign-up to receive our free e-newsletter

How to become an RNLI Ambassador

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Acknowledgements

Ordnance Survey

Royal National Lifeboat Instition

HM Coastguard

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Kayakers and Canoeists – are you carrying a ‘calling for help device’ & keep it close to hand?

Kayakers and Canoeists – are you carrying a ‘calling for help device’ & keep it close to hand?

We have seen Kayaking grow in popularity, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic, either out at the coast or on our fabulous inland water ways.  There is nothing like getting out on the water in a kayak and it is absolutely great fun.

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However, the number of incidents requiring help from search and rescue services has increased. Sadly anumber of those that needed rescuing were unable to access a means of ‘calling for help’ in their emergency situation.  One of those was very sadly Dom Jackson whose sister Ellie Jackson talks below in this short RNLI video:

You may recall on one of the magnificent RNLI documentries ‘Saving Lives At Sea’ featuring a kayaker who got into difficulty at the coast. Thankfully she was well prepared and had a VHF radio and mobile phone close at hand so that she was able to summon help and was successfully rescued by an RNLI Lifeboat crew.

Carrying a mobile phone in a protective case is one of the ‘calling for help’ options which could be carried.  Mobile coverage around the coast is generally poor, although coverage for voice calls is good. In all cases where emergency assistance is required dial ‘999’ or ‘112’ and ask for the Coastguard who will task appropriate search and rescue assets such as a lifeboat, Coastguard Rescue Team or helicopter.  It is always better to call for help before the situation gets out of hand. More information on how a kayaker got caught out

 

If you purchase a handheld VHF Radio look out for one that has a Digital selective calling alert button (DSC) which is standard for transmitting pre-defined digital messages via the medium-frequency (MF), high-frequency (HF) and very-high frequency (VHF) maritime radio systems. It is a core part of the Global Maritime Distress Safety System (GMDSS). The VHF hand-held radio is highly recommended as a means of ‘calling for help’ as it allows the Coastguard and lifeboat crews to pin point your location more easily and quickly using the DSC.  VHF radio’s generally are waterproof and can be used in challenging conditions which would otherwise make a mobile phone inoperable.  Battery life for hand-held’s are also good and have good sustainability.  For more information on VHF two way radio’s go to our latest blog on the subject. 

National Maritime Operation Centre (NMOC) HM Coastguard

On purchasing a VHF radio you will need to attend a radio operators course and qualify for a license. Find out your nearest provider here

Personal Locator Beacon (PLB)

Personal Locator Beacon’s have really reduced in price in recent years and are used widely by sailors, kayakers and many other outdoor activity enthusiasts.  One of the important things to remember is that they must be registered with the HM Coastguard to you personally and can’t be loaned out to a friend or relative.

safetrx RNLICommunitysafety seasafety thanetrnlicommunitysafetySafeTrx

The downloading and usage of the SafeTrx smart device app is growing in popularity amongst sailors and outdoor enthusiasts alike.  SafeTrx is free to download and use which charts your journey’s progress and will alert a nominated point of contact if you are late checking in at a pre-determined time.

Buoyancy Aid/Lifejacket

The wearing of a buoyancy aid or lifejacket could be absolutely critical in surviving difficult conditions or if something goes wrong whilst out on the water. Professor Mike Tipton from Portsmouth University has discovered through research that you are four times more likely to survive if you are wearing a lifejacket.

Tides and Weather

Before you set out on your paddle even if the weather appears calm always check the weather forecast and tide times as things can change quickly.

Communicate your journey plan

Before you set out on your paddle let someone know your route/passage and what is the latest time you will return.  Using this method your friend/colleague or family member can raise the alarm with the Coastguard if you are late returning or fail to check in at a pre-determined time.

Get some training

Before you venture out on the water why not get some training from an approved course provider.  If this isn’t possible try an organised group or club that meet up and go out onto the water together.  Our RNLI Community Safety Team has bespoke presentations to deliver to kayak groups and clubs as well as special free kayak packs to help keep you safe.  Email Andrew_Mills@RNLI.org.uk if you would like further information on receiving a presentation.

Ramsgate’s Atlantic 85 Inshore Lifeboat

Stay with your kayak if you capsize

If you end up in the water and you can’t get back into your kayak stay with your kayak.  This will give you something to hold onto keeping your head out of the water and also enable search and rescue services to spot you more easily.

Stay Safe during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Please comply with the relevant government COVID-19 pandemic safety guidelines when taking part in any coastal activity – don’t travel, save lives.  Thank you for reading and stay safe.

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Other useful links

British Canoeing

Kayaking Near Me – Rivers and Canals Trust

Calling for Help At The Coast – but which device should I get?

COVID19 Coronavirus RNLICommunitysafety RNLIWatersafety RNLIseasafety Thanetlifeguards Margatecoastguard Stressawarenessmonth mentalhealth ramsgatelifeboat margatelifeboat bewateraware

Acknowledgements:

RNLI

RYA

HM Coastguard

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Lifting the lid on the National Coastwatch Institution

NATIONAL COASTWATCH INSTITUTION – Herne Bay

Pre-COVID-19 pandemic two of our team were fortunate to visit the National Coastwatch Institution (NCI) look-out at Herne Bay and enjoyed a tour by two of the Watch Keepers Richard and Julia.

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Thanet CS team members John and Andy pictured with Richard Farr and Julia Morrissey

Currently there are 56 NCI operational stations and staffed by over 2500 volunteers keeping watch around the British Isles during day-light hours throughout the year. NCI watchkeepers provide the eyes and ears along the coast, monitoring radio channels and providing a listening watch in poor visibility. The NCI provides that extra layer of maritime surveillance and monitoring of the coastline helping to keep everyone safe who enjoys using the coast.

The NCI patch covers: from Rossall Point in the North West, through to Wales, to the South and East of England to Hornsea in the East Riding of Yorkshire.

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Should a Watch Keeper observe a person or craft in difficulty in the water or at the coast they will notify the HM Coastguard straight away and then direct the search and rescue (SAR) assets to the casualty whether it is the Coastguard helicopter, Coastguard Rescue Team, Lifeboat or other blue light emergency service.

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Coastguard Helicoper – photo credit Dawn Kandekore

After receiving a comprehensive training package Watch Keepers (WK) are able to deal with emergencies using a variety of skills and experience.  Stations are equipped with telescopes, radar, telephone and weather instrumentation as well as up to date charts to aid Watch Keepers undertake their role effectively. Every NCI station has Declared Facility Status and has to comply with standards set by the Maritime Coastguard Agency.

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If you are out on the water you can call the National Coastwatch via channel 65 and request radio and AIS checks, local tidal conditions, local weather and other coastal information.

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We would like to thank the NCI for their tireless work and for volunteering thousands of hours every year to help keep our coasts safe.

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Other useful links

Know who to call in a coastal emergency?

Interested in volunteering to become a Watch Keeper?

NCI Analysis of incidents

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Metal Detecting At The Coast or Inland – Do You Have An Emergency Plan Should Things Go Wrong If You Are Close To Open Water?

Metal Detecting At The Coast or Inland – Do you have an emergency plan should things go wrong if you are operating close to open water?

Metal detecting has been around for many years and is increasing in popularity.  Whether you have a passion for history or treasure hunting it is a great way to keep fit, improve your wellbeing by being outside in the fresh air, discover history and meet new friends.

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Photo credit: Rosemaria Pixabay

Metal Detecting Clubs & Kit

There are a whole host of metal detecting clubs up and down the country that you can join which will enable you to swop tips on the best kit to buy, discuss historical finds, attend rallies and events; and discover favoured locations to detect. To get you started as a metal detectorist you will need a minimum amount of kit namely a metal detector (waterproof or underwater version if you are planning on using it on wet sand or near water), bag for carrying your kit, headphones, stout footwear and a digging implement.

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Photo credit Ben_Kerckx Pixabay

What about Insurance?

Once you have built up some experience and knowledge then you may wish to extend your metal detecting kit, but this is down to personal preference.  Insurance is also recommended, although not mandatory and maybe required for participation at rallies and events. Some clubs membership fees includes public liability insurance.

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Image by Rottonara Pixabay

Do I need a license to metal detect?

You don’t need a license to use a metal detector in the UK, but there are laws about their use. People using a metal detector on private land without permission is illegal without first gaining approval from the owner. ‘Nighthawking’ is a term used to describe illegal metal detecting on farmland, archaeological sites and other areas of archaeological interest, often to steal coins and other artefacts for their historical and financial value.  The National Council for Metal Detecting has published an agreed Code of Conduct for all metal detectorists which will help you get the most out of this fascinating hobby, but also stay the right side of the law.

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Photo credit : Goumbik Pixabay

What is Operation Chronos?

It is also illegal to undertake metal detecting on a scheduled ancient monument, area of archaelogical importance or Ministry of Defence property.  If you are in any doubt always speak with the landowner or the appropriate authority first. The issue of ‘night hawking’ (which can also be committed during the day time) resulted in the setting up of a national policing operation called ‘Operation Chronos’ which focuses on identifying the criminal minority who are intent on stealing cultural heritage.

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Metal detecting on the beach and the Crown Estate

The beach can be a great place to carry out your hobby of metal detecting.  Planning your visit during the Summer months either early in the morning or later on in the day will help avoid the crowds.  Anyone wishing to carry out metal detecting on the beach often referred to as the Crown Estate foreshore (defined as the land between mean high water and mean low water) may do so without a formal consent from The Crown Estate.

This permission applies to Crown Estate foreshore only and not to the seabed, river beds, or any other Crown Estate land. Find out more about the areas owned by the Crown Estate 

Some beaches acround the coast maybe privately owned.  It is worth checking locally whether this is the case.

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Metal detecting on the River Thames

Metal detecting on the River Thames foreshore requires a separate permit from the Port of London Authority. For more information e-mail foreshore.permits@pla.co.uk or telephone 01474-562-332

What is the procedure if I find treasure?

If you are lucky enough to make a find on the beach then will need to check that whether it counts as treasure or wreck material.  Find out more about the summary definition of what constitutes treasure and how to report it to the Finds Officer 

If you make an unusual find on any other land you must inform the owner and consult the Voluntary Reporting of Portable Antiquities in England and Wales and the mandatory reporting requirements in Scotland.

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Who should I inform if I find wreck material?

If you recover any wreck material you will need to report it to the HM Coastguard who acts as the Receiver of Wreck within 28 days otherwise you could be fined £2,500 Find out more about what constitutes wreck material and how to report it

Contact details for the Receiver of the Wreck : 020 3817 2575 row@mcga.gov.uk

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Image by Pixabay

Have you thought about your emergency plan or drill?

As well as getting the most out of your hobby it is vital to have an emergency plan or drill should things go wrong when you are out and about. This is particularly important as some of the time you maybe operating alone or in a very isolated location close to open water.

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We’ve put together this advice guide to help you stay safe:

1.  Always check the tides and weather before you venture out. There are plenty of free smart device app’s that can be downloaded to aid you.  Countryside organisations and water companies all publish information which is useful to find out about open water and it’s inherent risks.  Half of the people that drown each year never intended on entering the water in the first place eg people who have slipped or tripped and got into difficulty.

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2.  Wear the right clothing for the time of year and be prepared for inclimate weather.  If you are operating close to open water it is recommended to wear a correctly fitted lifejacket or personal floatation device.

3.  Tell someone where you are going and what will be the latest time you will return.  The what3words app is useful to give a precise location of where you will be operating.  On smart phones the compass app will display the longitude and latitude or alternatively try the OS locate app.

RNLIWaterSafetyTeam SeaSafety ThanetRNLICommunitySafety Respectthewater RNLI Lifeboat Kent Beaches

4.  Carry a ‘calling for help’ device such as a fully charged mobile phone so that you can summon the Coastguard (if at the coast for a coastal emergency or on the River Thames) and the Fire and Rescue Service for other inland water emergencies

 

5.  Be aware of your surroundings when metal detecting on the beach or close to open water such as rivers, lakes, reservoirs or quarries.  Tides change very quickly and so do weather conditions. What appears to be a benign stretch of water in the Summer can be totally different out of season or in adverse weather.

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6.  Take heed of local warning signs

7.  Stay clear of cliff edges and rocks can be slippery

8.  Don’t enter the water if you get cut-off by the tide call out for help. If you can, ring ‘999’ ask for the Coastguard giving an accurate as possible location using any landmarks or points of reference. If you are inland eg river, pool, canal, reservoir or loch dial ‘999’ ask for the Fire Service.

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9.  If you see someone in the water don’t enter and attempt a rescue. Call for help via ‘999’ and throw them either a throwline bag or lifebouy which are located along some coastlines, river banks or other areas of open water. If you can’t find one of these throw them something which floats and they can hang onto until professional help arrives.

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10.  From time-to-time legacy military ordnance and pyrotechnic’s get found on the shore. Always dial ‘999’ and ask for the Coastguard who will attend the scene to establish a safe cordon, risk assess the item and call for assistance from the Army or Royal Navy Explosive Ordnance Team if appropriate

We hope you have a great time enjoying your metal detecting and we wish you well on your hunt for treasure!

accidentaldrowning RLSS drowning pools reserviors rivers streams lakes quarries

We strongly recommend checking the government website for the latest up-to-date rules and tier controls for any area/country you visit to undertake any activity.  Please help our NHS colleagues and comply with the regulations in force, by staying at home and only going out when necessary will help save lives. Stay safe and thank you for reading!

COVID-19 lockdown Ramsgatelifeboat Margatelifeboat Thanetlifeguards Margatecoastguard RNLICommunitysafety RNLIWatersafety respectthewater Bewateraware weatheraware

Other useful links

Portable Antiquities Scheme

Saxon Shore Metal Detecting Club help lifeguards clear Margate beach

How to check the tide times

Know how to float to live – follow Evan’s story

Know who to call if you spot washed up military ordnance or discarded pyrotechnic’s

The Alliance to Reduce Crime against Heritage (ARCH)

RNLICommunitysafety RNLISeasafety RNLIWater Respectthewater Bewateraware lifeboats thanet coastal safety broadstairs margate ramsgate kent dover whitstable newhaven brighton metaldetecting metaldetectorists

Acknowledgements

RNLI

National Council for Metal Detecting (NCMD)

HM Coastguard

British Museum

RLSS

beweatheraware RNLIwatersafety RNLIcommunitysafety RNLIseasafety Lifeboats respeectthewater margatelifeboat ramsgatelifeboat thanetlifeguards coastalsafety dogsafety RNLIEngagement RNLIcommunity RNLIEducation thanet margate broadstairs beaches harbours
Be Weather Aware During Stormy Weather

Be Weather Aware During Stormy Weather

Dodging waves during sunny and calm weather can be great fun.  However, on a stormy day just 15cm of water can knock you off your feet quite easily.  What seems like fabulous fun to dodge waves that crash over harbour walls or onto a beach can easily lead to disaster during stormy weather conditions.

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Ramsgate All Weather Lifeboat – Photo credit : Sarah Hewes

There have been many video’s and images shared online showing people risking their lives ‘dodging waves’ or taking ‘storm selfies’ during extreme weather conditions.  This blog is designed to give you a better awareness of the risks associated with stormy weather and what you can do to stay safe.  The video clip below illustrates this point very well. Fortunately, in this case no one was injured, but it could have been a totally different story.

Choppy water and strong currents (such as severe weather or spring tides), can sap the energy even of the most experienced sea goers.    If sea conditions are rough then don’t enter the water.  If you are in the water and the conditions change don’t take a chance but get out and wait until conditions become calmer.

Here are our 5 tips to help keep you safe during stormy weather:

1. Rip Currents

Rips are strong currents running out to sea between waves, which can quickly drag people and debris away out to deeper water.  They are especially powerful in larger surf, but never underestimate the power of any water. More information on rip currents can be found here.

2. Check weather forecasts

Keep a keen eye on the weather forecasts and tides.  There are numerous smart device apps which will provide information for free. The Met Office is a good source of weather forecast information and you can also sign-up for their email alerts and follow the Met Office on their social media channels.

Always seek local advice in advance before heading outdoors during severe weather.  Harbour offices and lifeguards (during the season) will be a good way of ascertaining local information such as tide tables.  Local RNLI and HM Coastguard Teams often run their own local social media channels which can be an excellent way of finding out local severe weather warnings and knowledge.  If you are taking part in an activity such as kifesurfing, kayaking or sailing then a local club will be able to pass on information about local conditions and hazards.

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3. Check your local environment

Storms can alter the landscape of some beaches, changing or damaging access points, or even creating new areas for rip currents.

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4. Beware of large waves

Even from the shore, large breaking waves can sweep you off your feet and drag you out into the sea. It is the wave in the middle of a set which is often bigger and can reach further up the beach or along a promenade.  The RNLI call this the ‘7th Wave’.  Driving through area’s which have been flooded or close to harbours during stormy weather can also be dangerous.

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5. Realising the risks

Realising the risks and making small changes can help you and your friends or family safe whilst still enjoying the coast:

  • Always carrying a means of calling for help on your activity such as a mobile phone or VHF radio in a waterproof case is a great idea
  • Tell someone where you are going and when is the latest time that you will be returning
  • Areas where you normally walk maybe slippery
  • Be careful around exposed headlands as gusts of wind and large waves can put you in potentially dangerous situations
  • If you see or hear a person or animal in the water dial ‘999’ or ‘112’ straight away and ask for the Coastguard

RNLICommunitysafety RNLseasafety RNLIseasafety respectthewater Thanetlifeguards RNLICommunityengagement drowningprevention margatecoastguard knowwhotocall

Often the best way of enjoying stormy weather is to observe it from a coffee or tea shop with a nice cuppa in your hand and something nice to eat! RNLICommunitysafety RNLIseasafety RNLIwatersafety Respectthewater bewateraware stormyweather beweatheraware severeweather stormwarning

Check your tide times – useful links

National Tidal and Sea Level Facility

Admiralty East Tides

Useful weather internet sites

Windfinder

Met Office

XC Weather

Acknowledgements

RNLI and HM Coastguard

Picture credit : Sarah Hewes

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Ever thought of becoming a Marine Mammal Medic?
Ever thought of becoming a Marine Mammal Medic?

Have you ever wanted to be able to give immediate care to mammals when they are washed up onto the shore in your local area or who maybe in distress?  Have you heard of the British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR)?

The BDMLR is a voluntary network of trained marine mammal medics who respond to call outs from the public, HM Coastguard, Police, RSPCA and SSPCA and are the only marine animal rescue organisation operating across England, Wales and Scotland. Not only are they called upon by the other emergency services, but also train their staff.

BDMLR is a registered charity and is operated entirely by volunteers. Their rescue teams are on call 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The BDMLR are always on the the look-out for people to help support the charity carry out their vital rescue work

BDMLR’s medic base includes people from all walks of life and occupations.  You don’t have to be a diver to become trained as a medic, but just a positive attitude, don’t mind getting cold and wet and able-bodied.  If you don’t fancy becoming a medic, then there are a variety of other roles such as fundraising and attending local events to publicise the vital work of BDMLR.

Mass stranding exercise Photo credit BDMLR

From time to time a significant number of seals across the UK come ashore to take refuge because of the weather conditions. People often call the Coastguard and the BDMLR to report seeing them on beaches, mistakenly thinking they might be injured. 

Incase you ever come across a marine mammal who has been washed up on the beach or maybe in distress please put these numbers into your phone (shown below) for easy access.

BDMLR RESCUE HOTLINE:
01825 765546 Monday-Friday 9am-5pm
07787 433412 Out of office hours and Bank Holidays

HM Coastguard Dover 24/7 Op’s Room 01304-210008 (dead mammals)

RSPCA 0300-1234-999 (Injured Birds/animals)

Thanet District Council 01843-577000 (out of hours)

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Photo credit : BDMLR

If you do have cause to report an injured or washed up mammal please have the following details ready:

  • Please note the place(giving as much information as possible eg which bay or beach). You can use What3words
  • the state of the tide
  • any injuries you can see without getting close

The BDMLR will then advise you on what to do and will get a trained medic out as soon as possible

BDMLR stand at Walmer Lifeboat Station Open Day 2019

Deceased mammals

The deceased mammals measurements will be taken by the Coastguard and information submitted to the Natural History Museum. The local authority in the case of Thanet, Thanet District Council  will then arrange for safe removal.

More useful information

BDMLR RNLICommunitysafety RNLIWatersafety Margatelifeboat Ramsgatelifeboat Margatecoastguard COVID-19 lockdown tier5 pandemic seals mammals

Useful links:

British Divers Marine Life Rescue

How to help the British Divers Marine Life Rescue

RNLI article on what to do if you come across a mammal on the beach

Our top tips on how to avoid getting cut-off by the tide if you are out for a coastal walk

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Mass mammal stranding exercise Photo credit BDMLR

Photo credits:

BDMLR

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Working together with partner agencies to help reduce drownings
Working together with partner agencies to help reduce drownings

Our team are passionately committed to reducing drowning and sharing water safety messages to all communities far and wide.  Working inconjunction with partner agenices and community groups the spread of the messages is much wider and more powerful.  For example we enjoy working with local businesses, local charities, Kent Fire and Rescue Service, Kent Police, Kent Search and Rescue, Community Wardens, Community Pastors and HM Coastguard to promote water safety at events to name a few.

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If you are a regular follower of our social media channels and preventative work you will have seen that we are actively involved in supporting other water safety organisations campaigns to help prevent and reduce drownings. Here is a run down on the campaigns we get involved in:

Respectthewater CommunitySafety RNLI

Respect the water is the RNLI water safety campaign which runs throughout the year, but is relaunched during May to highlight water safety risks, how to avoid them and gives advice on how to stay safe. More information on Respect the Water campaign

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‘Be Beach Safe’

During Summer 2020, the RNLI in collaboration with the HM Coastguard ran the ‘Be Beach Safe’ campaign, designed to share key beach safety messages.  Due to the travel restrictions imposed during lock-down the coast and beach saw a significant increase in visitor numbers. The ‘Be Beach Safe’ campaign was even more important during this period and continues to be shared far and wide.

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Also, during the Summer of 2020, the RNLI initiated an Ambassador scheme, where organisations and businesses close to the coastline could sign-up and help share key water safety messages.  This also included calling the Coastguard via ‘999’ for any coastal emergency and displaying posters in their premises or venues.  During the 2020/21 the RNLI partnered with the HM Coastguard to share the Be Coast Safe safety message.  This is increasingly important during the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown that this message is shared as widely as possible with an increase in the number of people taking their daily exercise at the coast.

Coastguard Lifeboat RNLI CommunitySafety Thanet saving lives at sea
HM Coastguard and RNLI Community Safety sharing Don’t Drink and Drown safety messages with Margate bars 2018
What is the Don’t Drink and Drown campaign?

The Royal Lifesaving Society’s (RLSS) Don’t Drink and Drown campaign is run during September and December targeting University students and those enjoying their works Christmas parties. The Don’t Drink and Drown campaign highlights the dangers of walking home close to open water after a night out.  More information on the Don’t Drink and Drown campaign

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Are Runners and Walkers at risk of drowning?

In 2019, our team were involved in promoting the Royal Lifesaving Society (RLSS) Runners and Walkers water safety campaign at the beginning of November by holding a water safety stand at the fabulous Pegwell Bay Park Run.  You may have come across the NFCC water safety campaigns called ‘Be Water Aware’. More information on this campaign

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Swim Safe team pictured with the Margate Mayor Mick Tomlinson and Councillor Liz Hurst
What is Swim Safe?

For the past two years we have helped raise funds and promote the Swim Safe programme which comprises free sea swimming and safety lessons for children aged 7-14 years held on Margate main sands. More information on Swim Safe

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What is the Know Who To Call campaign?

Throughout the year we help promote the work of the HM Coastguard more specifically the ‘Know Who To call’ in a coastal emergency campaign. This is a vitally important message to get across as over half the people we speak with at events don’t know to call the Coastguard via ‘999’ for any emergency at the coast or on the River Thames.

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‘Be Water Aware’ – who has pioneered this campaign?

The National Fire Chief’s Drowning Prevention Week campaign is supported annually by the team. This campaign aims to raise awareness of the risk of accidental drowning using Fire and Rescue Services’ across the UK. More information on the ‘Be Water Aware’ campaign.

If you want to get involved in the RNLI Local Ambassador campaign then check out this link for more information. 

Thank you for reading this blog and we stay safe!

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More useful links

RLSS – water safety campaigns

National Fire Chief’s – ‘Be Water Aware’

Nationalfirechiefs bewareaware drowning RLSS NFCC

Acknowledgements

RNLI

HM Coastguard

NFCC

RLSS