Volunteers at Thanet's two RNLI lifeboat stations have had a busy summer. During July and August Margate's two lifeboats dealt with a 50% increase in calls from the same period last year and sadly the summer headlines nationally have included occasions when a fun day at the seaside has ended in tragedy.
Members of Thanet's emergency services gathered together recently on a bright Sunday morning to illustrate the diverse range and number of people committed to ensuring that the experience of locals and visitors alike when enjoying Thanet's coastline is a safe one.
Two RNLI lifeboats are stationed at both Margate and Ramsgate with Margate's inshore and all-weather lifeboats and their volunteer crews represented here. Thanet is fortunate in having the services of seasonal RNLI lifeguards at nine of the island's beaches and their preventative and educational work is as important as their lifesaving activities.
Volunteers from HM Coastguard's local Coast Rescue Team may be involved providing rescue activities including cliff rescue as well as being the eyes and ears of their colleagues at Dover and Fareham who coordinate rescues around the UK coastline.
South East Coast Ambulance Service will be involved when those rescued need medical attention and Kent Fire and Rescue Service may also respond to cliff incidents and other coastal rescue scenarios - they don't only put fires out!
Occasionally incidents require a police presence and Kent Police will be on hand at those times. Finally, the coastguard helicopter based at Lydd Airport was on a call and unable to make the photo shoot but is of course very much a vital part of the jigsaw which makes up Thanet's coastal and sea rescue services.
Paul Hodson, Lifeboat Operations Manager, Margate Lifeboat said: 'Saving lives at sea can involve deep-sea rescue operations down to beach and coastal incidents and the remarkable thing about the declared services who respond is that they are an eclectic mix of both voluntary charity-funded organisations such as the RNLI and government-funded services. When the pagers go off or the telephone rings everyone works together with one aim, saving lives around Thanet’s coastline.'
· Footnote. RNLI Margate would like to thank all the responders who gave their time for the photo-shoot and also Stuart Cattell, RNLI lifeboat crew member and lifeguard supervisor who coordinated those involved.
· Photo: (Groups L-R); South East Coast Ambulance Service, Kent Fire and Rescue, RNLI Margate all-weather and inshore lifeboats, RNLI Lifeguards, HM Coastguard, Kent Police.
RNLI Media contacts
· Tim Ash, RNLI Public Relations Manager (London/East/South East) 0207 6207426, 07785 296252 firstname.lastname@example.org
· For enquiries outside normal business hours, contact the RNLI duty press officer on 01202 336789