Thanet RNLI Community Safety

Celebrating International Volunteers Day – Thanet RNLI Community Safety

On Saturday (5th December 2020) our team are helping to celebrate International Volunteers day.  International Volunteers Day is an international observance that was mandated by the United Nations General Assembly in 1985.  The day is an opportunity for us all to promote volunteerism, encourage everyone to support volunteer efforts and recognise volunteer contributions.  After all, this year has been very challenging for all of us in a multitude of ways.  Thousands of volunteers across the UK have been at the forefront of medical, community and societal responses to the pandemic.  They should be applauded at every opportunity, giving up their valuable time to help others.

 

So, why do people volunteer?   There are many reasons, but here are a few:

  • Give something back to the community
  • Make a difference to the people around us
  • Learn new skills
  • Meet new people and build friendships
  • Build on existing knowledge and experience
  • Become part of a team and feel valued
  • Gain confidence and increase self-esteem
  • Spend time away from a busy lifestyle or the working environment
  • Opportunity to socialise
  • Find new employment by enhancing employment prospects eg improving CV’s

The RNLI relies on 35,000 dedicated volunteers (making up 95% of their total strength) and the HM Coastguard indicate that they have 3,500 Coastguard Rescue Officers who are highly trained in missing person searching, first aid, water, mud and cliff rescue.

RNLI and HM Coastguard Teams have been busier than ever during 2020

RNLI and HM Coastguard Rescue Teams have been on-call throughout the pandemic providing round-the-clock search and rescue cover with an increasing number of call-outs to persons needing help and assistance due largely to an increase in people enjoying ‘staycations’ and days out at the coast.  The RNLI have described the 2020 season as one like no other.

Thank you

So, let’s get behind all those volunteers out there who freely volunteer their time and say a big thank you for everything they do and continue to do.   Whenever you next meet a volunteer just say ‘thank you’.  If you are a volunteer yourself, thank your colleagues and the team it will make all the difference!

Stay safe out there and thank you for reading.

 

How to stay safe during the pandemic

If you are out and about in your communities please help to stay safe by heeding the government advice for the particular tier or country which you are residing, visiting or working in.

 

Acknowledgements

Royal National Lifeboat Institution

HM Coastguard

National Council for Voluntary Organisations

United Nations

 

Further useful references

RNLI Volunteering Vacancies

HM Coastguard Volunteer Vacancies

Government advice on volunteering during COVID-19

Sign-up to our water safety e-newsletter

Discover how the RNLI Community Safety Team is making lifesaving interventions on the shoreline

You may have heard of our Community Safety Team through our social media channels or face-to-face at local community events.  Incase you weren’t aware of our team’s work this blog is designed to increase your awareness of what we do to prevent drownings and other water safety incidents.

The RNLI recruited Volunteer Community Safety Teams to raise safety awareness at local level by developing lifesaving plans, including identifying ‘at risk’ groups and providing targeted safety advice.

The four Coastal based activities that we target in the Thanet area are as follows:

  1.  Swimming
  2.  Yacht sailing and motor boating
  3.  In-water play and beach users
  4.  Walking/Dog Walking

Inorder to effectively target these activity areas the team uses a range of tactical interventions. Some of these are described below.

 

1. Lifejacket Clinic’s

Lifejacket clinics are run on a regular basis either at a yacht club, Lifeboat Station or on one of our harbour ‘walking the pontoon’ initiatives. Our team will check the overall integrity of the individual jacket, gas cyclinder and firing mechanism. They are unfortunately unable to conduct a full service, supply spare parts or inflate the jacket. We recommend that your lifejacket is serviced by a manufacturer or service agent.   Further information on lifejackets can be found on an earlier blog post.

2. Incident Prevention Engagement (IPE)

This is conducted where an incident has already taken place and engagement is required to try to deter a repeat incident.  An example of this is where our team deployed to the area of Botany and Kingsgate Bay after several incidents of people being cut-off by the tide.  More information on how we are helping to share tidal cut-off information can be found here.

3. Coastal Dog Walker Engagement

Our doggie events are really popular where we chat to dog owners and walkers about not to enter the water if their doggie won’t leave the water or gets into difficulty. Our Coastal Dog Walker Safety Advice blog could help prevent you get into difficulty. 

4.  Supporting other organisations drowning prevention campaigns

From time to time we support other organisations drowning prevention campaigns.  Some of these campaign’s include: National Fire Chief’s ‘Be Water Aware’, Kent Search and Rescue’s ‘Safe and Dry’, Royal Lifesaving Society ‘Don’t Drink and Drown’ and ‘Stop Drowning’ Campaigns. The picture above shows the Margate HM Coastguard Team at Coco Latino, Ramsgate sharing the ‘Don’t Drink and Drown’ safety message whom we teamed up with at Christmas 2018 to visit licensed bars around Ramsgate and Margate as well as the Thanet Lifeguard Club and the Community Pastors.

Community Safety Stand at Gravesend Gurdwara

5.  Pop-Up Drowning Prevention Stands

Our ‘pop-up’ Respect the Water and Drowning Prevention stands are held at a variety of community events, places of worship such as Mosque’s, Gurdwara’s and church’s; and other venue’s where our message can be shared effectively.

6. Transport Hub Engagement

During the busy Summer months our team visit Margate main sands and the railway station area to chat to beach visitors to highlight key safety messages. This is an exciting development as a significant proportion of people who are rescued by the lifeguards and lifeboat crews are from outside the Thanet footprint.

Briefing to Thanet Royal Air Force Air Cadets

7.  Talks to outside groups

Our team are able to deliver bespoke presentations to outside groups on a variety of water safety topics, some of which include: an interactive discussion on emergency alerting for sailing and boating clubs.  This presentation is supported with a broad range of emergency alerting equipment including Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacons (EPIRB’s), Personal Locator Beacons (PLB’s), Marine Band VHF Radio’s, Automatic Identification Systems (AIS) Search & Rescue Transponders (SARTS), Distress Flares and Emergency Visual Distress Signals (EVDS). Other presentations include: tombstoning to youth groups, coastal walking, open water swimming and diving amongst others.

If you are interested in one of our team visiting your group and delivering a presentation then contact our team via email Andrew_Mills@RNLI.org.uk or private message us on Facebook.

Members of Thanet CS team pictured during an Advice on Board session

8.  Advice on Board (AOB)

An AOB visit entails an open discussion with any boat user (sailing, kayaking, angling etc.) on how to use safety equipment, how to maintain it and how to plan for things that might go wrong out at sea. These visits take place wherever the users boat happens to be – a harbour, marina, boatyard or on the back of their trailer at home. Book an AOB via our Facebook page

Other useful links

Thanet Coastal Patrol Initiative Launched At Ramsgate Lifeboat Station

Swim Safe – free swimming lessons in the sea and water safety awareness

Volunteers’ Week 1-7 June
Thanet RNLI Community Safety Team visit to Dover CGOC

Saturday 1st June marks the start of Volunteers’ Week which is a chance to celebrate and say thank you for the fantastic contribution millions of volunteers make across the UK.  Throughout the week we will be introducing you to some of our team members and the contribution they make to preventing incidents and drownings at the coast.  Stay tuned to find out more.

More information on Volunteers Week

RNLI Volunteering vacancies page

HM Coastguard Volunteering

Find out about volunteering with Kent Search and Rescue Team

Stormy Weather & Volunteers
ramsgatelifeboat margatelifeboat RNLIwatersafety RNLIcommunitysafety RNLIlifejackets callingforhelp Ramsgateharbour thanetlifeguards margatecoastguard tidesbroadstairs tidesramsgate tidesmargate lifeboats searchandrescuethanet multiagencythanet kentpolice
Margate All Weather Lifeboat Photo credit: Steve Burton

You couldn’t have failed to witness some of the extremely challenging weather conditions which have battered the UK in the past month. It was four years ago that I remember the last real bad weather to hit us at the coast. It just seemed to rain every day.

Storm Eleanor certainly caused havoc across the UK, resulting in storm force winds, torrential rain resulting in flooding for some unfortunate communities. I recently attended a flooding conference and learnt first hand the terrible devastation flooding brings to its victims.

Unfortunately, some video’s and photographs on social media show that some individuals are still intent on grabbing that favourite ‘selfie’ close to huge waves or fast incoming tides on beaches. Despite warnings from the Coastguard, RNLI, Police etc some still do it.

The Emergency Services, local authorities, NHS, Search & Rescue agencies, voluntary support organisations (Red Cross, St Johns Ambulance, 4×4 Rescue to name but a few) once again stepped up to the plate and deployed helping and supporting those effected in every way possible. I am always in awe of the support that all agencies and organisations provide to our communities in their hour of most need. Volunteers from a range of disparate groups give their time unreservedly at any hour of the day or night (quite often) when the call comes. These unselfish people will then go to work (often after a disturbed nights sleep) after returning from helping others and carry on with their own lives. Please spare a thought when you are tucked up in your nice, warm toasty bed (when the wind is howling outside, its lashing down with rain or its snowing heavily) that someone, somewhere will be woken by their pager or alerter and will leave without hesitation to help a complete stranger who’s in trouble and needs their help, putting themselves in danger.