Thanet RNLI Community Safety

New Year Resolutions – Some Lifesaving Purchase Ideas For The January Sales – Help Improve Your Safety On The Water

January is traditionally the time to make those New Year resolutions, whether it is ‘Dry January’ (that is abstaining from alcohol consumption), a new diet, fitness regime, learn a new language, change career/job, or learning something new to help improve yourself.  Whatever you decide to tackle then we wish you the best of luck.  It’s not easy taking on a new challenge, but whatever you try just keep going.  There will be days that you will not feel like it, but stick with it and you will be surprised that little steps can make a big difference.   Everyone has their own challenges and what one person takes for granted can be another person’s goal or massive achievement.  During the COVID-19 pandemic many people have seized the opportunity to learn something new, take up a new hobby or taken an on-line course which we applaud!

 

For those of you who enjoy a water sport then January maybe the ideal opportunity to help improve their safety out on the water.  Here are some ideas:

lifejackets callingforhelp RNLIwatersafety RNLIcommunitysafety Respectthewater Margatelifeboat Margatecoastguard Thanetlifeguards margate broadstairs ramsgatelifeboat Margatelifeboat

Lifejackets

Lifejackets or personal floatation devices (PFD’s) are essential pieces of lifesaving kit which should be regularly serviced and worn at all times.  Checking your lifejacket and getting it serviced is always a good start to the new year and maybe replacing one that you may have had for a long time taking advantage of the January sales at the Chandlers is always a good move.  Whether you are a sailor, off-shore angler, kayaker, canoeist or paddle boarder a lifejacket or personal floatation device is a must for all sea and weather conditions.

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Open Water Swimming

Open water or cold water swimming has really taken off in the past couple of years, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic.  A brightly coloured swim hat and tow float are good purchases if you are intending on taking up this fabulous pastime in the New Year.  Joining a club or signing up for some swimming lesson (when COVID-19 regulations permit) is also an excellent way of enjoying your new hobby.  Swimming with a buddy, friend or club members is great fun, but also fabulous for safety as everyone will be looking out for each other.

Why not check out our previous post on some open water swimming safety tips.

 

VHF radio’s and courses

The preferred means of communication when out on the water is a VHF radio.  They are a relatively inexpensive piece of kit to purchase, relatively simple to use under pressure in a life threatening situation, water proof, can deliver a recognised method of calling for assistance via channel 16, if you purchase one with Digital Selective Calling (DSC) a predefined automatic signal of your position will be transmitted in an emergency situation if you depress the DSC button;  and has a better range of reception (often close to the shoreline a mobile phone can’t get a signal).

Once purchased you will need to attend and pass a radio course to teach you how to use it and it’s functions. The RYA run a wealth of radio courses across the UK and more and more are being offered with an on-line element.

 

Personal Locator Beacons (PLB’s)

These have really come down in price recently and are a highly recommended piece of safety kit which need to be registered with the HM Coastguard and your details update if you change address.  Canoeists, kayakers, divers, paddle boarders. PLB’s have also drawn popularity in mountain biking, hiking and climbing circles enabling these sporting enthusiasts in remote locations to have a means of calling for help which can pinpoint their position and where there is no mobile phone signal.

 

Training or lessons

If you are just starting out in your new water sport or igniting an old passion then finding an approved instructor or subscribing to some lessons at a local club will be a good move to help you learn the basic’s, safety drills or refresh on some previously learnt techniques.  Each sport will have their own approved instructors or schools which have been independently assessed for their specialist knowledge of the sport, safety aspects, equipment and insurance.  A quick search of the relevant sport’s governing body will provide a list of approved instructing schools and qualified coaches.  A phone call, email or private message on social media will help you answer any questions you may have.

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Mobile Phone Water Proof Pouch

Carrying a means of ‘calling for help’ is essential whatever water sport you enjoy whether it’s at the coast or on inland water.  The handheld VHF radio is our recommended ‘calling for help’ device, however, a fully charged mobile in a water proof pouch is also a viable option for calling for help.    Being able to call for help if you get into difficulty or you see someone else in trouble is essential.   Mobile phone pouch’s are relatively inexpensive to purchase via the internet or water sport retail outlets.

 

Internet for useful resources

The internet contains a whole host of valuable resources which can help increase your knowledge and safety whilst having at the same time enabling you to have a great time whilst on the water.  Always ensure that your sources are the approved governing bodyclub or association for the relevant sport eg RYA, British Canoeing, British Kitesports Association etc.

Thank you for reading a stay safe out there!

 

Acknowledgements

RNLI

HM Coastguard

RYA

British Canoeing

What’s The Difference Between The Coastguard and the RNLI?

Our team is often asked what’s the difference between the Coastguard and the RNLI?  Her Majesty’s Coastguard (HMCG) – commonly known as the Coastguard – is part of the UK Government’s Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) and are in charge of all maritime and rescue operation’s in the UK.

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Coastguard Officers pictured at Herne Bay’s Community Safety Take Over Day 2019

The Irish Coastguard (IRCG) covers the Republic of Ireland. When you dial ‘999’ or ‘112’ or make an emergency call from a VHF radio and ask for the Coastguard you will be put through to one of the operations centres which are dotted across the UK.  They will co-ordinate the response and task the appropriate assets such as lifeboats, Coastguard Rescue Team’s, helicopter and or other blue light services Police, Fire and Rescue; or Ambulance.

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National Maritime Operation Centre (NMOC) HM Coastguard

Coastguard’s in the operation’s centre can call upon Coastguard Rescue Team’s which are made up of volunteers based all around the coast, who are ready to respond 365 days a year.  The teams are highly trained with a specialist skillset in water, mud and cliff rescue; advanced first aid and now trained to search for high risk vulnerable missing persons.

floodrescue RNLIwatersafetyteam RNLICommunitysafety RNLISeasafety thanet kent coastguard beachsafety watersafety swimsafe

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) is an independent UK and Republic of Ireland charity.  It’s a 24/7 volunteer lifeboat service that is a declared asset of the Coastguard to be tasked to an incident. The RNLI is a registered charity that has been saving lives at sea since 1824.  It provides an on-call 24 hour lifeboat search and rescue service and a lifeguard service (available during the Summer months) along with a flood rescue capability.

RNLIcommunitysafety seasafety blogs Coastguard swimsafe Ramsgate Margate Thanet Broadstairs

Other useful links

HM Coastguard Margate – Facebook page

Margate RNLI

Ramsgate RNLI

COVID19thanet Margatecoastguard Respectthewater Bewateraware Margatelifeboat Ramsgatelifeboat knowwhotocall

Acknowledgements

HM Coastguard Greenock

HM Coastguard

RNLI

RNLI  Announced as Official charity for the Margate Coastal Marathon & Half Marathon

We are delighted to announce that the RNLI has been announced as the official charity for the Margate Coastal Marathon & Half Marathon which will take place later this year in September.  The event formerly known as the Kent Coastal Marathon & Half Marathon is one of the most prestigious running events in the South East, taking either 13 or 26 miles of the most stunning and picturesque sights and landscapes through Ramsgate, Margate, Broadstairs and Westgate-on-Sea.

 

The race organised by Thanet Roadrunners AC is considered to be one of the friendliest marathons to take part in and will see a large number of serious athletes as well as charity runners.  The event starts at 9.30 am on Sunday 6th September 2020, beginning and finishing at Palm Bay School, Cliftonville.

The decision to award the charity this major role was made by the Race Director of the race and Thanet Roadrunners AC club committee.  £1 from every entry will be donated to the RNLI which will be divided equally between Ramsgate and Margate Lifeboat Stations.  In addition the RNLI Community Safety Team are planning to have a sea safety stand at the event where it will deliver important safety information and advice to all the runners, families and spectators.

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Ramsgate All Weather Lifeboat

Maryanne Aitken, Race Director of the Margate Coastal Marathon & Half Marathon said, ‘Thanet Roadrunners is delighted to partner with the RNLI, which does so much work locally to educate locals and visitors alike about water safety’.

 

Andy Mills, Thanet RNLI Community Safety Officer said, ‘We are over the moon that the charity is so recognised locally by such important community organisations like Thanet Roadrunners AC.  Over the year, we hope to promote this race, our involvement in the important message of water safety.

Further details about the race will be published on the Thanet Roadrunners website in due course.

 

Stay tuned for details about our involvement with this great event on our Blog and social media channels

Is It a Legal Requirement To Wear Lifejackets?

In the UK there isn’t a legal requirement for leisure boaters wear a lifejacket.  However, in Ireland the law requires that appropriate personal floatation devices (PFD’s) are carried on all leisure craft for each member of the crew/passengers; when a vessel is under 7 metres PFD’s must be worn; and people under 16 years of age must wear a PFD’s when on an open vessel or on deck, no matter what size the vessel is.  As of 2019, the law states that it is mandatory for all UK and Irish commercial fishermen to wear a PFD on an open deck (unless there is a risk assessment in force that shows they cannot fall overboard).

RNLILifejacketclinic communitysafety RNLICommunitySafety Lifeboats, Seasafety WaterSafety

Our team run lifejacket clinic’s from time to time at yacht clubs, lifeboat stations and harbours. If you are interested in getting your lifejacket checked by a qualified member of our team please drop us an email: Andrew_Mills@RNLI.org.uk (Please note: An inspection by an RNLI Community Safety Adviser is not the equivalent of a lifejacket service. Lifejackets should be serviced by an approved service agent).

lifejackets communitysafety seasafety watersafety lifeboats RNLI thanet margate ramsgate broadstairs kent coastalsafety lifejacketclinic

Want to find out more information on lifejackets?

Lifejackets – useless unless worn

Anglers and lifejackets

When was the last time you checked your lifejacket?

RNLI – lifejackets

Acknowledgements

RNLI

2019 RoSPA National Water Safety Conference

On Monday (18th November) I was privileged to attend the 2019 Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) National Water Safety Conference in London – ‘Making Every Community Count’.

lifebuoy RNLICommunitySafety Lifeboats RNLI ThanetRNLICommunitySafety RoSPA Bewateraware Respectthewater

The RoSPA conference is where a multitude of influential organisations, charities and government agencies who are all involved in drowning prevention and water safety meet up to examine how they can collectively improve in reducing fatalities around water.  It is three years since the launch of the National Water Safety Strategy which is supported by Government and this wide range of organisations which is making significant efforts to address the five key targets to help improve water safety.

The conference was opened by Mr George Rawlinson who is the National Water Safety Forum Independent Chair.  One of the points which was clear from Mr Rawlinson’s opening address is that “Collaboration is essential if we are to succeed in reducing fatalities around the waters of the UK, inland and coast”.

dontdrinkanddrown RLSS

There are many campaigns up and down the UK that involve collaboration with several different agencies. These include the Royal Life saving Societies (RLSS) ‘Don’t Drink and Drown’ ‘Runners and Walkers’ and Winter Water Safety campaigns, the RNLI’s  Respect the Water, National Fire Chief’s ‘Be Water Aware’ week; and no end of highly successful throw bag ‘community responder’ schemes at canal’s, harbours, marina’s and riverside locations.

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Conference speakers included: Mr Dominic Watkins from DWF Law LLP., who spoke about the independent review of the legal framework on who owes legal responsibility for ensuring water safety on the coastline. This was commissioned on behalf of the HM Coastguard Agency following the very tragic deaths at Camber Sands.

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The second speaker up to the podium was introduced as Mark Towens, the Port of London Authority Harbour Master.  Mr Towens led the audience through the development and delivery of the Tidal Thames Water Safety Forum strategy which you may remember was launched by HRH Prince William earlier in the year.  The aim of the strategy is to reduce the 700 incidents and 30 fatalities resulting from accidental or deliberate drowning (suicide) along the River Thames.

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David Wilson, Station Manager Manchester Central Fire Station (Greater Manchester Fire & Rescue Service) spoke next which proved highly interesting and informative.  Station Manager Wilson is the chair of the water safety partnership and explored the challenges and lessons learnt from this partnership approach.

 

Mr Nick Pope was invited up to the stage and spoke about his son’s very tragic and sad death whilst returning home after a night out as a student in Manchester.  When Mr Pope spoke you could hear a pin drop in the room talking openly about how we can all help #MakeCharlieTheLast.

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Further speakers included Mr Justin Scarr (Chief Executive Royal Life Saving Society Australia), Mr David Walker (Leisure Safety Manager for RoSPA) who revealed that rivers suffered the highest proportion of UK accidental drowning casualities, that future focus should include the pro-active sharing of good practise; Mr Brian Johnson (Chief Executive, Maritime Coastguard Agency) and Dr Peter Aitken (Director of Research and Development, Devon Partnership NHS Trust).  It is Dr Aitken’s talk which I will focus on next.

Dr Aitken delivered a truly inspiring talk entitled “Boats, Barbers, Prisoners and Farmers”. Dr Aitken explored the way in which ‘crowd sourcing’ could be harnessed to help increase suicide prevention amongst the wider community, by mobilising community expertise to look out for people who are in need of help particularly in areas which may attract people who wish to take their own lives.

 

You may have already come across the ‘Small Talk Saves Lives’ which is such a fantastic campaign started by the Samaritans which is really important to follow and use.  It was also very interesting to learn that studies by Dr Aitken show that if the press or others disclose the identity (male/female), location and means that there is direct causation to two further suicides. You can follow Dr Aitken’s work via his twitter feed

 

Conclusion

I would like to thank David Walker and his team from RoSPA who organised and deliverd the conference and to the excellent speakers who provided a highly invaluable and a very worthwhile day.

 

Other useful references

RNLI – Respect the Water campaign

HM Coastguard – Managing Beach Safety

National Fire Chief’s – Be Water Aware

RLSS – Don’t Drink and Drown

Canals and River Trust

drowningprevention watersafety NFCC RLSS RNLI Respectthewater

Acknowledgements

RNLI Community Safety Team

HM Coastguard

RoSPA – Water Safety

Dr Peter Aitken – Director of Research & Development, Devon Partnership NHS Trust

Dominic Walker – DWF Low LLP

Harbour Master Mark Towens – Port of London Authority

Station Manager David Wilson – Greater Manchester Fire & Rescue Service

Justin Scarr – CEO Royal Lifesaving Society Australia

Pegwell Bay Park Runners Enjoy Learning About Water Safety

The Park Run community is without doubt one of the friendliest and vibrant community running groups that helps people of all abilities to get out out on a Saturday morning to enjoy some fitness.  On Saturday (2nd November) our team were very lucky to be able to pop down to The Pegwell Bay Park Run and hold a Water Safety Pop-Up stand.

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Pictured: Ian, Andy and John – Thanet CS Team

The overall objective of the Pop-Up stand was to help support and share the Royal Lifesaving Societies (RLSS) ‘Runners and Walkers’ Water Safety campaign week which starts on Monday 4th November and runs through until 8th November.

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One of our Community Safey Team – Ian Lockyer ready to take part in the Park Run

RLSS indicate that tragically over 300 people unnecessarily lost their lives to drowning in the UK whilst running or walking by the water between 2012–2016.  Each year on average over 60 people a year lose their life to drowning as a result of Running or Walking near water.  Taking a few safety precautions and having a plan should things go wrong is definitely worthwhile. Just taking your mobile phone with you and telling someone your route could help in an emergency.

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It was fabulous to chat to the Park Runners who were all very engaging and interested in improving their water safety and overall drowning prevention knowledge.  We would like to thank the Pegwell Bay Park Run Team for allowing us to attend their fabulous Saturday morning event and chat to runners, supporters and volunteers.  Well done to all the runners for such a great effort on this blustery morning.  We were very fortunate with the weather and that the rain held off until we had packed away.

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The Awesom Park Run Volunteers

The Runners and Walkers Drowning Prevention and Water Safety campaign begins on Monday 4th November, why not use the #runnersandwalkers on your social media channels and help share these critical safety messages?  For more informtion on downloading Runners and Walkers social media imaginery

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Other useful links

Runners and Walkers Identified As High Risk Of Accidental Drowning Year-on-Year

RLSS – About Runners and Walkers campaign

How to become a Park Run Volunteer

runnersandwalkers RLSS Respectthewater Bewateraware RNLI Lifeboat Coastguard

Acknowledgements

Pegwell Bay Park Runners

RLSS

RNLI

Are you Winter Water Safety Aware?

Enjoying a walk or run with family, friends and or your beloved dog can be such great fun during Winter time.  Having some knowledge on how to stay safe whilst out and about during winter will enable you to have a great time.

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Lakes, pools, reservoirs and canals can get frozen over during cold weather, which look very picturesque but all too often people venture out onto the frozen lakes and find themselves in difficulty in the water. Sadly in the past there have been numerous incidents where people have entered the water under ice with the best intentions to either attempt the rescue of another person or a dog and they have tragically become a fatality themselves.

 

The Royal Life Saving Society (RLSS) has come up with some useful tips on what actions to take in an emergency situation:

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Only use well lit areas

Time your walks to make the most of the daylight; if you need to walk in the evening only use well-lit areas or take a route not alongside water.

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Keep back from the edge
When walking alongside water keep back from the edge.

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Keep dogs on their leads
Keep dogs on their leads when near ice and don’t throw sticks or toys onto the ice.

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Don’t go on the ice to rescue a dog
Don’t go onto ice or into the water to rescue a dog, move to somewhere that the dog will be able to climb out and call them towards you.

 

Know who to call in an emergency

If you hear or see an animal or person who has fallen into through the ice or into the water shout for help and call ‘999’ or ‘112’ ask for the Coastguard at the coast or on the River Thames; and Fire and Rescue Service if inland at a lake, pool, river, reservior, quarry or loch.

RLSS Watersafety winter drowningprevention RLSS Fireservice

Do not walk or climb onto the ice to attempt a rescue. Try and reach them from the bank using a rope, pole, tree branch, clothing tied together or anything else which can extend your reach.  If you cannot reach them, slide something which floats, such as a plastic bottle or football, across the ice for them to hold onto to stay afloat whilst help is on the way.

Thank you for reading!

Other useful links

Know who to call in a coastal emergency

RLSS

respectthewater RLSS coldwatershock RNLI

Acknowledgements

RLSS

RNLI

HM Coastguard

Sea Safety Talk To Ramsgate Probus Club Makes a Big Hit

On 3rd April our team really enjoyed chatting to the great Ramsgate Probus Club at the fabulous RTYC Ramsgate . Covering our key safety messages, the Thanet coastal patrol concept, Swim Safe and the RNLI’s wider drowning preventative/search & rescue work both in the UK, Republic of Ireland and world wide.  We were really interested in a press cutting hung on the wall in the RTYC from the ‘London illustrated News’ dated April 10th, 1864. Entitled ‘Ramsgate Lifeboat Morning After A Heavy Gale – Weather Moderating’. A fabulous example of the RNLI’s heroic work in highly dangerous and challenging sea conditions with very little protection.

Thank you very much to the President for the very kind donation and for hosting our team’s talk which Is hugely appreciated.

Check Out The Thanet RNLI Community Safety Blog

The Thanet RNLI Community Safety Blog is the place where we post the latest news about all community events and activities and also share our thoughts and safety advice.

You can visit our blog by clicking on :

Visit and bookmark https://thanetrnlicommunitysafety.org.uk and connect with us on social media (Facebook, TwitterLinkedIn and Instagram) to stay up to date with all our community safety news.  
As a region, the Thanet RNLI Community Safety team are incredibly proactive, and there are regular updates. 
And if you want to get involved with our community initiatives, or provide some local support in any way possible, you can contact Andy Mills (Community Safety Officer) on  andrew_mills@rnli.org.uk

 

Walmer Lifeboat Station Open Day

A member of the Deal HM Coastguard Team kitted ready to deploy on the joint RNLI and Coastguard water rescue exercise at Walmer RNLI Station Open Day

Last weekend saw our team out and about covering anumber of events.  On Saturday morning, three of the team made the short journey to Walmer to support the fantastic annual lifeboat station open day providing a lifejacket clinic and sharing drowing prevention advice in support of the Royal Lifesaving Society Drowning Prevention week.  

Members of our Team with their Drowning Prevention & Lifejacket stand

The annual lifeboat station open day is a fantastic opportunity to get up close to both of the station’s Atlantic 85 and ‘D’ class inshore lifeboats, as well as being able to chat to the volunteer crew about their lifesaving work.  The open day also helps raise much needed funds towards the running and up-keep of the Lifeboat station.

 

The open day this year featured static displays from the Community First Responders, Deal HM Coastguard Team who are highly trained in mud, cliff and water rescue as well as advanced first aid and high risk missing person searching; Kent Fire and Rescue Service, the British Divers Marine Life Rescue team. The open day operated alongside the Walmer Churches Summer Fete who provided some very enjoyable choral entertainment.

Deal Carnival Queen’s supporting Respect the Water badges on their sashes

The lifeboat crew also took part in a mock rescue in the arena and also out on the water with the help of the Dover All-Weather Lifeboat. A thoroughly brilliant day showcasing the fabulous lifesaving capabilities of the volunteer lifeboat crews and HM Coastguard.   A special mention must be made of all people involved behind the scenes that work tirelessly to make a lifeboat station open day a huge success: the fundraisers, cake bakers, refreshment providers, lifeboat shop staff and children’s painting table/entertainment.

Front page picture credit: Sarah Hewes

Some useful links:

Learn how to float to live

Future medic courses run by British Dives Marine Life Rescue

About the HM Coastguard

Kent Fire & Rescue Service

Community First Responders

Walmer RNLI Station facebook page