Some may argue that visits to the coast or beach during the Autumn is even more pleasurable than the Summer, what with the cooler temperatures, fabulous sky lines, less crowds and also the opening up of beaches that can be explored without worrying about restrictions on dog walking.   The lifeguard patrols have long since finished for the season, leaving beaches without that extra layer of surveillance and immediate highly trained help in times of need.

To enable you to enjoy the coast during the Autumnal months here is a run down on ten safety tips that you may like to consider. It is worthy to mention at this point that exploring the coast during stormy weather looks like great fun, but big waves and strong wind can easily knock you off your feet and place you in danger. The best place to observe stormy weather is often the inside of a nice coffee or tea shop with a cuppa and a cake.

  1.  Plan Ahead – check the tide times and weather forecast before you head out of the door. There are a variety of mobile device app’s which are free to download for your everyday use.  If you aren’t technically minded some harbour offices and businesses stock paper tide times booklets which are available at a nominal cost.  Local knowledge is always a good way of finding out whether it is safe to be venturing out to the coast.

SafeTrx Smart Phone App

2.  Download the SafeTrx App

Many walkers, open water swimmers, off-rock anglers and divers have downloaded this app and use it regularly, which is absolutely free to down-load and use. More information on SafeTrx

3.  Carry a means of calling for help

Such as a fully charged mobile phone or VHF radio.  Having a means of calling for help will enable you to get help to you or anyone else in an emergency quickly. More information on calling for help devices.

4.  Know who to call in a coastal emergency

If you hear or see a person or animal in difficulty in the water or at the coast dial ‘999’ or ‘112’ immediately and ask for the Coastguard. This will allow the correct equipment and trained personnel are mobilised to the scene as soon as possible.

5If you end up in the water – what should you do?

RNLI advice is to float on your back until you get your breath back and then you can call for help by waving one arm and shouting towards the shoreline. More information on Float to Live.

6.  Know what to do if you saw someone in difficulty in the water

The RNLI’s advice is  Call for help rather than endanger your own life and the lives of others.  More information on what to do if you saw someone in difficulty in the water

7.  Wear a buoyancy aid or lifejacket

If you are taking part in any form of water activity such as kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding, sailing etc always wear a lifejacket or buoyancy aid. More information on lifejacket safety

8. Tell someone what your plans are

Before you head out speak with a family member or friend and let them know what will be the latest time you will return and your route.  This will help if you are overdue and HM Coastguard are alerted.  Try downloading the SafeTrx App

9.  Read and follow safety signs

Heed any safety signs that you may across on your coastal or beach trip. The information could help prevent getting involved in an incident which could have been avoided.

 

10.  Wear the right clothing or equipment for the activity

Wearing the correct kit and or equipment for the activity you taking part in will definitely enable you make the day more enjoyable.

More useful links

Half the people that accidentally drown never intended on entering the water

Cliff Edge Selfie’s

How do I prevent being cut-off by the tide?

How to have a fabulous, but safe time at the coast with your dog

Acknowledgements

RNLI

HM Coastguard

Ramsgate Lifeboat Station


Andy Mills

Thanet RNLI Community Safety Officer Striving to reduce accidental drownings by 50% by 2024 by spreading key safety messages to Thanet communities and its visitors.