Thanet RNLI Community Safety

Walkers and Runners identified as high risk of accidental drowning year on year in UK

Getting out in the fresh air either enjoying a leisurely stroll, a longer hike or maybe a run is a fantastic way to get some exercise particularly during the lockdown period, to improve your mindfulness and spend time with friends or family. This blog is designed to raise awareness that 93 people who accidentally drowned during 2018 weren’t even taking part in water-based activity and were simply running or walking near water (this is the largest grouping of people who lost their lives).

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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?

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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

9 people assisted by Margate Inshore Lifeboat after being cut off by the tide
Margate’s Inshore Lifeboat

On Saturday lunchtime, just as the sunny weekend weather and high temperatures was attracting a multitude of visitors onto the lovely Thanet sandy beaches, Margate Lifeboat crews pagers were activated by the UK Coastguard. Requesting them to launch their Inshore Lifeboat (ILB) to three people cut off by the tide at Kingsgate Bay. Quickly arriving on scene the crew carried out the rescue of a London couple who were celebrating their 1st wedding anniversary, along with a photographer who was busy capturing the moment. After successfully completing the rescue, with the couple and photographer only having wet feet to show and being handed over to the care of the Coastguard Rescue Team, the Lifeboat crew then resumed back towards Margate.

Two women were then spotted in a similar area by the Inshore Lifeboat Crew and had walked down a nearby track and were attempting to wade through the water back towards the beach. The Lifeboat Crew advised the two women to return back the way they had walked, they heeded the advice and turned back.

A further two more persons were seen cut-off by the tide, they were taken off the rocks at which point two more adults and two children were also seen. They too were rescued off the rocks by the ILB crew. The casualties were then taken to Botany Bay where the casualties were handed over into the care of the RNLI Lifeguards and HM Coastguard Rescue Team.

Ian Lowe Deputy Luanching Authority Margate Lifeboat said; “To assist nine persons in such a short time in one area shows how easy it is to get into trouble by the water. It was a lovely day to be at the seaside, but not knowing what the tide will do leading to, an unintended spell in the water can spell disaster. The water is still cold, cold water shock can kill the unprepared long before or bring on drowning. Please seek advice before visiting the seaside from the RNLI website and use a lifeguarded beach. Lifeguards know the dangers in the area and will always give advice if asked.”

Acknowledgements to Margate RNLI Lifeboat Press Officer & DLA Ian Lowe

RNLI Advice on tides

HM Coastguard Coastal Safety advice

Tides information

Find my nearest RNLI Lifeguarded beach

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