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 awarness 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


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.