Thanet RNLI Community Safety

Why Should You Carry A VHF Radio If You Are A Kayaker, Sailor, Personal Water Craft user or Fishermen

Regularly at community events our team are asked why should you carry a VHF radio if you are a kayaker, dingy sailor, paddle boarder, personal water craft user, or off-shore fishermen when they could use their mobile phone instead if they get into difficulty?  Even if you are not going far offshore you might not be able to get a mobile phone signal.  Wet mobile phones don’t work very well and who knows what sea or weather conditions you may experience.

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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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Lifejacket Clinic at Margate helps make Sailors Safe whilst Out On The Water

lifejacket clinic Community Safety Thanet

It was our pleasure to attend Margate Lifeboat Station on Saturday (12th October) to conduct a lifejacket clinic at the invitation of the Lifeboat Operation’s Manager (LOM) Mr Paul Hodson.  Our team are always keen to undertake lifejacket clinic’s and this was no exception.  As this is an invaluable way of helping sailors keep safe by carrying out a series of checks on their lifejackets and also passing on other maritime safey advice.

lifejacket clinic, Community Safety, Thanet, Sea safety. RNLI

Amongst the lifejackets checked one revealed a loose cannister. For a lifejacket to effectively operate the cannister/cylinder must be hand tight and this jacket would not have operated correctly if the wearer had ended up in the water and needed it in an emergency situation.   We also say to all people who attend our clinic’s that a strobe light is highly recommended, as well as a spray hood.  A recent example of how effective a strobe light can be in an emergency was during a rescue off  the Dover coast. The full account of this rescue is included here

RNLILifejacketclinic

You can find out more about how to carry out lifejacket checks by checking out our blog “Top 10 Lifejacket Checks Which Could Save Your Life”.

We would like to pass on our sincere thanks to the Margate Lifeboat Operation’s Manager for inviting us to the station to carry out the clinic and to our team for giving up their time on Saturday.

Lifejacket inspections can be undertaken during an advice on board session, at a lifejacket clinic or on an ad-hoc basis when chatting at events. If you are interested in our team visiting you to check your lifejackets why not drop us an email: Andrew_Mills@RNLI.org.uk

lifejacketsuselessunlessworn

An inspection by an RNLI Community Safety Advisor is not the equivalent of a lifejacket service. Lifejackets should be serviced by an approved service agent.

Other useful links

When was the last time that you checked your lifejacket?

Anglers and lifejackets

Why wearing a lifejacket or buoyancy aid is so important!

Thanet’s RNLI Community Safety Team Helps Out At Lifejacket Clinic At Erith Yacht Club

One of our team, John Homer travelled up to Erith Yacht Club on Saturday (29th September) to help out Gravesend RNLI Community Safety Team to deliver a lifejacket clinic for club members.

The aim of the lifejacket clinic is to undertake anumber of safety checks that will give the sailor or water activity enthusiast the piece of mind that if they or a member of their crew does find themselves in the water that the jacket will inflate.  So that Community Safety Advisors can undertake lifejacket checks they all attend a qualifying lifejacket clinic course at Poole HQ.

The team checked thirty lifejackets intotal, with nineteen failures and four being condemned.

John Homer commented “a great first clinic for Gravesend.  We really enjoyed talking with Erith Yacht Club members and we hope that they found the session beneficial.  We urge all sailors and boaters to check their lifejackets on a regular basis and to get them serviced by an approved service agent”.

Our next lifejacket clinic is taking place at Margate Lifeboat Station on Sat 12th October.  Why not pop along and get your lifejacket checked for free and plenty of maritime safety advice available.

**Please note that an Inspection by an RNLI Community Safety Advisor is not the equivalent of a lifejacket service by an approved lifejacket service agent**.

John G (Medway CS Team) pictured with John Homer (Thanet CS Team)

Useful links

Top 10 lifejacket checks which could save your life

When was the last time you checked your lifejacket?

Why wearing a lifejacket or buoyancy aid is so important?

Lifejackets – which one should I buy?

Acknowledgements

Gravesend RNLI Community Safety Team

RNLI

Erith Yacht Club

Calling For Help At the Coast – But which device should I get?

 

Carrying a fully charged mobile phone in a waterproof case can most of the time be sufficient on inland coastal activity

Whatever coastal activity or water sport that you are taking part in it is vitally important to carry a means of calling for help incase you or one of your party gets into difficulty.   This includes going for a walk with your lovely doggie or friends/family along the great coastline.   Everything including sailing off-shore, kackaying, climbing, diving, swimming or motor boating to name a few.  The ability to call for help quickly and get rescue services to you or the person/animal in difficulty can be the difference between living or dying.

If you do find yourself in difficulty, hear or see someone else or an animal in difficulty in the water or at the coast call ‘999’ or ‘112’ straight away and ask for the Coastguard.  If you are inland at a river, loch, canal, reservoir or lake then ring ‘999’ or ‘112’ and ask for the Fire Service again straight away.

To assist you with some of the calling for help devices which are available we have included anumber below (Image credit: RNLI)

The RNLI advises :

  • Smart phones can provide a location, but emergency calls should be made by voice (call 999 or 112 and ask for the Coastguard). Text messages and map locations are often no use to the Coastguard.
  • Even if your phone shows no service, try calling 999 or 112 anyway as in an emergency your phone will be able to use another phone network. Please note that with some devices, repeatedly pressing the power button can activate an emergency call with your location.
  • The RYA SafeTrx ap is available to download for free for use in notifying a specified contact if you are overdue from your trip. The Coastguard can also monitor and be kept informed.

 

Personal Locator Beacon (PLB)

These have recently come right down in price and retail at around £175.00.  They are now being used by all sorts of outdoor enthusiasts including walkers, climbers and mountain bikers.  The PLB needs to be registered to you (shouldn’t be loaned to friends), they will operate world-wide and you can rely on the Coastguard on picking up the signal immediately and your GPS location given to lifeboat and coastguard teams.   The PLB needs to be activated so the casualty will need to be conscious with the aerial pointing out of the water. One of our team carries one on his lifejacket permanently.

The VHF handheld VHF radio’s are now reasonable priced and available widely

The RNLI makes these points with regards VHF radio’s:

  • If possible, buy a DSC-equipped radio (some are not). A DSC distress alert is a recognised emergency signal, and it also transmits your location.
  • Send a distress alert followed by a mayday voice call on Channel 16. This communicates the distress message to all vessels and shore stations in range.
  • Requires an operator’s licence, a ship’s portable radio or ship’s radio licence (free in the UK if requested online) and a Maritime Mobile Service Identity (MMSI) number, which comes with the radio licence.

More useful links

How to call for help at Sea – RNLI

How to call the Coastgaurd

How to register or update your PLB or other UK 406MHZ beacon device

Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS)

HM Coastguard

Canoeing Safely – Canals and Rivers Trust

Kayacking and Canoeing Safety – RNLI

Anglers – time spent in preparation will help save your life!

Angling is a seriously popular activity, which is growing yearly.  The RNLI estimate that around 1 million people participate in angling around the coast.  Unfortunately, between 2011 and 2015, 50 anglers lost their lives whilst fishing around the UK coast*. Sadly, expert evidence suggests that many of those lives might have been saved if the anglers had been wearing lifejackets.  You are four times more likely to survive if you are wearing a lifejacket (source Prof Mark Tipton University of Portsmouth)

Check out the video below to see what the the famous fishing guru Henry Gilbey found out about lifejackets when he visited the RNLI College at Poole.

 

Our top tips to follow when out angling at the coast:

  1.  Wear a properly maintained lifejacket at all times
  2.  Always carry a means of calling for help such as a VHF radio or fully charged mobile phone in a waterproof case
  3.  Tell someone on land your plans eg what will the latest time you will be back and where you are going
  4.  Consider downloading and using the RYA SafeTrx App
  5.  Check the weather and tides before you go out
  6.  Have a plan if things should go wrong – this angler did and it saved his life
  7.  If you get into difficulty or see someone else that you think is in difficulty call ‘999’ or 112′ ask for the Coastguard straight away – every second counts.

HM Coastguard’s James Robertson (National Drowning Prevention Officer) advice on Sea Angling

More information on how to prepare for your angling trip at the coast can be found via this link

National Water Safety Forum – HM Coastguard film on cold water shock

Find out more about the free to use  and dowload SafeTrx App

HM Coastguard ‘On the Rocks’ safety advice

How to survive if you call into the water unexpectedly if you float to live

How to get your lifejacket checked by one of the RNLI’s Community Safety Teams

Did you know that the RNLI carry out free ‘Advice on Board’ sessions onboard to help you be safer whilst out on the water

 

 

 

 

 

 

*RNLI analysis of WAID UK fatalities accidental and natural causes only 2011-15 coastal dataset