Thanet RNLI Community Safety

Lockdown Water Safety – Do You Enjoy Your Running or Walking? Do You Know What To Do If You Fell Into Water

With an increase in the number of people pulling on their trainers or walking boots for their unlimited daily exercise in England by themselves  or with one other person, the RNLI are urging people to heed the advice if anyone who finds themselves unexpectedly in cold water to ‘float to live’.   Getting out into the fresh air for a walk or run is an excellent way of grabbing some exercise and or valuable ‘headspace’ time away from work or the stresses and strains of modern everyday life.  But, knowing what to do should you get into difficulty in water is essential.

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A recent incident near Blackburn involving a runner who accidentally fell into a canal who helped to save her own life by using the ‘Float to Live’ safety drill enforces the RNLI’s water safety campaign ‘Respect the Water’ very effectively.  Fortunately, the Aggie the runner who knew the route well escaped unhurt and without the need for hospitalisation. You can view the interview below which Aggie gave to the RNLI below explaining how she remembered the ‘Float to Live’ principle after seeing it advertised on television.

Chris Cousens, one of the RNLI’s Water Safety Lead’s, said “annual coastal fatality figures reveal over half (55%) of those who died at the coast in 2018 ended up in the water unexpectedly – a figure that has remained consistent in recent years. Chris says:

‘Aggie’s story really does prove the charity’s Float to Live advice is just as relevant inland as it is on the coast. Coastal fatality figures sadly show that many of those who lose their lives did not plan on entering the water.

Slips, trips and falls can catch people unaware while out running or walking. Knowing what to do if you fall into cold water, whether inland or at the coast, can be the difference between life and death.

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‘The instinctive human reaction when you fall into cold water can cause panic and gasping for breath, increasing the chances of breathing in water. Although it’s counter intuitive, the best immediate course of action is to fight your instinct and float on your back. More tragic water-related deaths can be avoided by knowing the risks and remembering the Float technique, just as Aggie did.

Coastal and Inland Water ways

Float to Live is something that you can use equally at the coast, as you can in a river, canal, loch, quarry or lake.  The short video above will demonstrate how to conduct ‘Float to Live’.

 

Water Safety Reminders

Here is a reminder if you are setting out for a lovely walk or run or any other outdoor activity which is close to water:

  1. Check the weather and tides
  2. Carry a ‘calling for help’ device such as a fully charged mobile phone in a waterproof case
  3. Tell someone where you are going and what time you will be back
  4. Wear the right clothing/equipment for the activity
  5. Read and take heed of any warning signage at the entrance to beaches
  6. Be aware of your surroundings at all times
  7. Be aware of slips and trips, keeping to recognised coastal paths
  8. Don’t enter the water should you get cut off by the tide, shout for help
  9. If you do unexpectedly find yourself in the water float on your back until you get your breath
  10. If you see an animal or person in difficulty in the water dial ‘999’ at the coast or on the River Thames and ask for the Coastguard or if inland the Fire Service giving an accurate location
  11. Abide by the relevant COVID-19 safety restrictions for that particular area

 

Stay Safe!

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Other useful links

What do I do if I saw someone in difficulty in the water?

What is cold water shock?

Why not sign-up to our e-newsletter?

RNLI Respect the Water

Acknowledgements

Royal National Lifeboat Institution

HM Coastguard

RNLI Water Safety Lead – Chris Cousens

Agnieszka ‘Aggie’ Kwiecien for allowing her story to be published

Do You Know How To Check the Tide Times?

Regularly at events we are asked what is the best way to check the tide times?  There are a variety of websites and smart device app’s available which are free to download and use to check the tides.  Shops, cafe’s and other harbour/marina establishments regularly stock paper copies of tide tables which are available for a nominal fee or a donation to the local lifeboat station.  A special mention should be made of ‘Spring Tides’ at this point in the blog. Spring Tides can result in people getting easily cut-off by the incoming tide including places where there normally isn’t an issue.  For more information go to our blog on different tides.

Some lifeboat station’s also display the tide times on their external notice board’s. Many lifeboat station’s, Coastguard teams and National Coastwatch station’s publish tide times and safety advice on a regular basis on their social media channels. Both Ramsgate and Margate lifeboat station’s publish tide times.

We have included anumber of websites and ap’s below to give you an idea which ones are available.

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BBC Weather Tide Tables

Tide Times

Met Office Beach forecast and tide times

Tide Forecast.com

Tide Times App – iOS device

Tide Times App – Android

You maybe visiting the coast to enjoy a lovely walk with your friends or family, partake in some bird watching, go climbing, kayaking, paddle boarding, sailing, swimming, surfing or just take in the sea from a cafe or coffee shop.  Whatever activity you are taking part in why not remind yourself about some safety tips which could help save your life below:

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  • Always carry a ‘calling for help device’ such as a fully charged mobile phone or VHF radio

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  • If you are going out on your own tell someone where you are going and what time you will be back

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  • Wear the right clothing for the activity. If you are enjoying time on the water always wear a fully serviced lifejacket.

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  • Check the weather forecast

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  • If you get into difficulty dial ‘999’ or ‘112’ and ask for the Coastguard

 

  • Don’t enter the water if you get cut-off by the tide, call for help

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  • Heed any warning signs that are displayed at the coast or on beaches

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  • Be aware of your surroundings at all times as conditions can change quickly without warning

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  • If you end up in the water Float On Your Back until you get your breath back – Float To Live

Ian Lockyer (RNLI Community Safety Advisor) says “we want everyone to enjoy the coast and get as much out of your visit as possible. But, making a few preparations and having a plan should things go wrong will help save your life”.

Other useful links

Do you know who to call in a coastal emergency?

Float to live – Evan’s Story

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

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One of our Coastal Dog Safety sessions at Dumpton Gap (prior to Lockdown)

Acknowledgements

RNLI

HM Coastguard

National Coastwatch Institution

National Ocean Service

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.