Thanet Lifeguards offer safety advice as people cut off by tide on Kent coast

Lifeboats News Release

With record temperatures set to continue in the coming weeks it may be the perfect weather for a coastal stroll, or dip in the sea, but the RNLI is urging people to be aware of the risks involved when heading to the Kent coast and to Respect the Water.

Botany Bay - an RNLI lifeguarded beach

RNLI/Paul Dunt

Botany Bay - a RNLI lifeguarded beach

RNLI lifeguards across the Thanet beaches are advising people to stay away from the tidal pool at Margate main beach where the lifeguards, who receive expert training in dealing with injuries, often spend a lot of time dealing with cuts and bruises.

The lifeguards are also reminding people that tombstoning off Margate Pier is dangerous. Water depth is often deceiving and can result in injury at low tide. Not to mention what hidden dangers lurk beneath the water. Shopping trolleys are often found and removed on occasions, plus it’s still a working harbour and pleasure crafts numbers are also rising within the area.

‘Tombstoning can be dangerous because water depth alters with the tide,’ said Thanet Lifeguard Supervisor Stuart Cattell. ‘The water may be shallower than it seems, submerged objects like rocks may not be visible and can cause serious injury if you jump onto them. The shock of cold water may also make it difficult to swim and strong currents can rapidly sweep people away’.

Around 190 people die in UK and Irish waters each year. Respect the Water is the RNLI’s drowning prevention campaign which identifies risks, how to avoid them and increase your chances of survival in an emergency situation.

By sharing these simple survival skills you could help save a life at sea: if you find yourself in the water unexpectedly, fight your instincts and float until the effects of cold water shock pass. If you see someone else in trouble in the water, dial 999 or 112 and ask for the Coastguard.

Stuart also advises people to check tide times (which are displayed by lifeguards on the beaches and available on local lifeboat station Facebook book pages, as well as the RNLI website) before walking along the coast: ‘It is crucial to check tide times when walking across the different beaches, especially by the stack at Botany Bay and along Stone Bay,’ he explained.

‘We often have to send out lifeguards and sometimes have to call in RNLI lifeboats to these locations where people are frequently caught out and cut off by the tide’.

Only this weekend RNLI lifeguards at Botany Bay notified UK Coastguard that they had received information of up to 50 people cut off by the tide in the Kingsgate, Botany Bay area, it was around two hours before high tide.

The coastguard initiated a major response launching Margate RNLI inshore lifeboat with the all-weather lifeboat placed at immediate readiness. Both the inshore and all-weather lifeboats from Ramsgate responded and Margate Coastguard Rescue Team were also tasked. RNLI lifeguards were also involved in the operation.

Margate and Ramsgate’s inshore lifeboats were able to land in an isolated bay between Botany Bay and Kingsgate Bay and it was established that 37 people were indeed in effect cut off by the tide.

Perhaps the easiest danger to overlook at the beach is the scorching sun. Sunburn is not only uncomfortable but can increase the risk of skin cancer later in life. According to the Karen Clifford Skin Cancer Charity, we experience over half our lifetime’s exposure to the sun before we reach the age of 21. Remember to pack sunscreen, a hat and something to cover your shoulders.

If you are enjoying the sun in Thanet during the heatwave, the best idea is to head to an RNLI lifeguarded beach where there are highly trained lifeguards dedicated to your safety. RNLI lifeguards will have detailed knowledge of any local dangers and will be able you on the safest place to swim – between the red and yellow RNLI flags.

They will also be able to provide safety advice on swimming in the sea, using inflatables and activities such as bodyboarding.

RNLI lifeguards are patrolling the following Thanet beaches daily from 26 May to 2 September (10am – 6pm): Margate Main Sands, Botany Bay, Broadstairs (Viking Bay) Beach and Joss Bay Beach. From 7 July to 2 September (10am – 6pm daily), the lifeguards will also be at Minnis Bay, St Mildred’s Bay, Westbrook Bay, West Bay, Stone Bay and Ramsgate beach.

RNLI Media contacts

  • Taylor Johnson, Lifeguards Press Officer (Summer 2018) for the South East 07785 296252

  • Paul Dunt, Regional Media Officer (South East), 0207 6207426, 07785 296252

  • For enquiries outside normal business hours, contact the RNLI duty press officer on 01202 336789

RNLI online: For more information on the RNLI please visit News releases and other media resources, including RSS feeds, downloadable photos and video, are available at the RNLI News Centre.

Thanet Lifeguard Supervisor Stuart Cattell

RNLI/Paul Dunt

Thanet Lifeguard Supervisor Stuart Cattell
Joss Bay - it's very easy to get cut off by the tide around this stretch of the Kent coast

RNLI/Paul Dunt

Joss Bay - it's very easy to get cut off by the tide around this stretch of the Kent coast
It's best to head to an RNLI lifeguarded beach during the current heatwave

RNLI/Paul Dunt

It's best to head to an RNLI lifeguarded beach during the current heatwave

Key facts about the RNLI

The RNLI charity saves lives at sea. Its volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service around the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland coasts. The RNLI operates over 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and, in a normal year, more than 240 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK and Channel Islands. The RNLI is independent of Coastguard and government and depends on voluntary donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824, its lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved over 142,700 lives.

Learn more about the RNLI

For more information please visit the RNLI website or Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. News releases, videos and photos are available on the News Centre.

Contacting the RNLI - public enquiries

Members of the public may contact the RNLI on 0300 300 9990 (UK) or 1800 991802 (Ireland) or by email.