Thanet RNLI Community Safety

Free Lifejacket Clinic at Margate Lifeboat Station in October
Members of Thanet CS team pictured during a lifejacket check

When was the last time that you checked your lifejacket? Are you aware that a significant number of lifejackets that we checked recently had out-of-date firing mechanism’s and or corroded gas bottles. Why not pop along to our free Lifejacket Clinic on Saturday 12th October at Margate Lifeboat Station.  Where you can get your jacket checked and at the same time receive safety advice about which ‘calling for help’ device to carry, book your very own free ‘Advice on Board’ session and much more. Lifejacket clinic’s also enjoy support from GJW Direct who is one of the RNLI’s commercial partners.


*Please note that 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:

Lifejackets – which one should I buy?

Lifejackets useless unless worn!

How to book a lifejacket clinic?

RNLI’s complete guide to lifejackets

Lifejackets, useless unless worn!


This blog post is all about urging all water activity users to wear lifejackets or personal bouyancy aids.  You may have read about the rescue recently undertaken by Whitstable’s Inshore Lifeboat, with the help of Margate’s All Weather Lifeboat.  The full report of the rescue can be found by visiting Whitstable Station’s website page.

The two gentlemen who were rescued by the Inshore Lifeboat crew had been in the water for two and a half hours, hanging onto their up-turned craft. Luckily, the position of the dingy was easily found thanks to a passing yacht.  It is imperative to wear a lifejacket whenever you go out onto the water and carry a means of calling for help. You can find out all sorts of top-tips on how to look after your lifejacket by checking out one of our previous blog posts or going to the RNLI website.  RNLI Community Safety teams around the coast run lifejacket clinics, to check over jackets and to advise sailers/yatchtsmen/anglers on whether they need attention or maintenance.

If you are wondering whether your lifejacket is ok to use, then why not have a look at this top tips blog. If you are still unsure then pop our team a quick message and we will be happy to advise. In the case of the two gentlemen rescued recently, they were very lucky. On another day, with no passing craft and more severe weather conditions the outcome could have been a whole lot worse. So, if you are an angler, yachtsmen/women, sailer, kaycker, canoeist or fishermen please wear your lifejacket when you are on the water and carry a means of calling for help. You should be checking your lifejacket at least once a year, by following our top tips check list. If you are unsure there are a whole host of companies that will service your lifejacket for you.

More information on calling for help devices for kayckers

How to Call for Help

Float Not Swim – RNLI campaign

Volvo Ocean Race Cardiff

RNLI Safety stand at the Volvo Ocean village, Cardiff Bay

Apologies for not posting last week, but I was over in the lovely city of Cardiff. You may wonder how an RNLI Community Safety Officer covering East Kent ended up in Cardiff?  Well, Cardiff was the venue for Volvo Ocean Race. This race fleet started last October from Alicante in Spain on a race around the world, taking in 12 cities. For the very first time in its history the race stopped off in Cardiff between 27th May to 10th June. This year, Wales is celebrating the Year of the Sea – the RNLI were selected as host city community partners for the Cardiff stopover. That is where I came in, by volunteering to help staff the RNLI stand in the ocean village in Cardiff Bay, to share our key safety messages amongst sailers and other visitors.

Mapfre -Spanish team boat returning to Cardiff Bay

It was great to meet lots of visitors to chat to about the RNLI’s safety tips. Find out more about sailing top tips by visiting this link. It was also fabulous to meet the awesome RNLI volunteers and staff from across the UK, putting faces to names who I had corresponded with via email or chatted to on social media. It was an absolute privilege and I am very proud to be involved in such an event and I can’t wait for the next opportunity to represent the RNLI.

Guests of Helly Hansen being briefed prior to their trip round a Tamar All Weather Lifeboat

My top 6 links about the exciting Ocean Volvo race:

  1.  Volvo Ocean Race Cardiff
  2.  Turn The Tide On Plastic – find out more about Dee Caffari’s race crew and how this veteran world sailer is launching a campaing to Turn the Tide on Plastic.
  3.  Dee Caffari website
  4.  RNLI Magazine article on the Volvo Ocean event
  5.  Follow the latest daily digest on the Ocean Volvo race news
  6.  Keep abreast of the action by following the Ocean Volvo race tracker

Sky Ocean Plastic giant whale

Sky Ocean Plastic #PassOnplastic





Launch of Respect the Water campaign – Margate
South East region launch of Respect the Water – Margate RNLI Station

After week’s of careful planning and organising, the date Wednesday 23rd May, was soon upon us. This signalled the all important national launch of the RNLI’s Respect the Water campaign. I was fortunate to be able attend the South East region launch at Margate, which I had helped to plan and organise.  Respect the Water incase you haven’t heard of it, is the RNLI’s branding for it’s safety campaign, which uses the ‘float not swim’ principle amongst it’s main safety messages.  The ‘float not swim’ technique saved seven people’s lives in 2017 from drowning. These survivors stories can be found on the brand new Respect the Water website which is now live.

The Margate launch involved a detailed briefing delivered by Guy Addington (RNLI South East Community Safety Partner) to the whole host of key community partners, who will be instrumental in helping to spread the key safety messages.  The launch was also featured on Wednesday’s ITV Meridian’s evening news programme.

RNlI Community Safety Partner Guy Addington delivering his safety briefing

The partner agencies that were involved at the launch comprised: HM Coastguard Margate, Kent Fire & Rescue Service (Margate Fire Station), RNLI Lifeguards, RNLI Education Volunteers, Margate Harbour Master, Kent County Councillor Emma Dawson, Margate RNLI, Central Cars (local taxi firm), RNLI Community Safety Volunteers, the Margate Harbour Arm bar, Bus Cafe and Sun Deck. After the briefing and photo call, anumber of local Margate harbour businesses received throw bag training from a qualified RNLI instructor. This training now allows these businesses to deploy a throw bag to someone in difficulty in the water if it is safe to do so and also increased water safety awareness. If you work or run a business close to a harbour, river or sea then you maybe eligible to sign-up for free throw bag training. Find out more by following this link if you are close to the sea or close to the River Medway.

Thank you to everyone who attended and supported the launch event, your help in sharing the safety messages will help make the East Kent coast safer this Summer and is much appreciated.

Community Safety Volunteer being interviewed by a TV crew

How to survive cold water shock by Professor Mike Tipton is one of the messages that the RNLI is keen to deliver. Please watch and share, it just could save someone’s life.




It’s all about pagers!

The Umbirical Cord

I promised last week after a conversation with one of the Margate Yacht Club members to write a blog about RNLI pagers.  Well, as you can see from the photograph below, here it is.  The pager is what some RNLI crew call their umbilical cord, basically attached to you wherever you go or whatever you are doing. If you go to bed, it’s on the bedside table next to your clothes and car keys which are ready to go incase you get a shout in the middle of the night!

RNLIpager RNLIcommunitysafety RNLIseasafety RNLIWatersafety Margatelifeboat RamsgateLifeboat Allweatherlifeboat inshorelifeboat Margate Ramsgate Broadstairs Thanetlifeguards lifeguards Bewateraware launchinglifeboat

So, how does the pager work?  If you are old enough like me, you may remember pagers that you could hire or buy so that friends, work colleagues or relatives to get hold of you even if you weren’t near a phone.  Basically, a very small electronic receiver encased in a plastic box which will receive a electronic signal that will convert into an audible tone and or visual message. Before the pager was introduced the lifeboat crews were alerted via maroons and a phone call from the Coxswain during the night time period.

Who sets the pagers off?

The UK Coastguard will receive an emergency call via the ‘999’ system from a member of the public indicating that someone or an animal is in the sea and needs assistance. The call could also originate from someone out at sea who has called ‘Mayday’ on their VHF radio channel 16 who is in trouble or has observed someone else in need of help. The Coastguard will then send a ‘launch request’ to the appropriate RNLI station.  The RNLI station Launch Authority will then call the Coastguard asking for details.  The launch authority will decide what happens eg ‘launch all boats’, ‘launch inshore boat’,launch all-weather boat’ or ‘launch none’.  The Coastguard will then page the appropriate lifeboat crew, who will make their way to the station as quickly as possible and kit up on arrival. The lifeboat crew will be selected and will receive a briefing from the Coxswain/helmsmen/hovercraft commander.  The boat(s) will then be launched with the assistance of the shore crew.

So, that’s a very brief overview of what happens, of course the process can vary depending on location.


callingforhelp margatecoastguard respectthewater bewateraware Margatelifeboat Ramsgatelifeboat Thanetlifeguards vHFradio
Emergency VHF radio calling  procedure

Read this really great article from the RNLI on-line magazine on the 11 memorable pager moments, I’m sure you will enjoy it!

You can download your own pager for your desk top or receive alerts via text message when your favourite lifeboat station is paged for launch.

If you want to know what the RNLI pagers sound like when they go-off have a look at this video. Be warned, this carries a health warning- if you are RNLI crew then it may make you jump!!

More information on what to do when someone needs help at sea check out the video below from the UK Coastguard: