Simple safety rules to make your visit to Thanet’s beaches safer this summer
With schools now breaking up for the summer holidays, Andy Mills, Thanet RNLI Community Safety Officer provides important safety advice to avoid a trip to the coast ending in tragedy.
July and August are the busiest two months of the year for the RNLI and the charity’s lifeboat crews and lifeguards will be on high-alert as people take to the beaches and coastline in the current fine weather. Dangers are never far away however, and we ask locals and visitors alike to take heed of a few simple rules to make your trip a fun and safe experience.
Andy explains that as part of the RNLI’s drowning prevention campaign, Respect the Water, the charity is calling on the public to help save more lives during this busy period by remembering and sharing key survival skills. First, if you see someone else in danger in the water, fight your instincts to go in after them and instead call ‘999’ and ask for the Coastguard.
It may be a warm day, but the sea is cold enough year-round to trigger cold water shock with the instinctive reaction to gasp and swim hard which can quickly lead to drowning. With around half the coastal deaths each year being people who accidentally slip or fall into the water, the RNLI’s second piece of advice is: If you fall into cold water, fight your instincts to swim hard and thrash about. Instead, float for 60–90 seconds until the effects of cold water shock pass and you can catch your breath before then swimming to safety or calling for help.
Other basic safety advice includes:
- Check the tides before embarking on a trip to the coast
- Choose a lifeguarded beach and speak with the lifeguard on arrival to find out about local tide times and rips
- Swim between the red and yellow flags, which is the area most closely monitored by the lifeguards
- If visiting the beach with your children, take a picture of what they are wearing when you arrive, which will make it easier to locate them if they go missing
- Establish a meeting point in case you get separated
- If a child does goes missing, make sure the remainder of the children in your party are supervised and calmly search the area where they were last seen
- Inform the Lifeguards and or Police that the child is missing.
Andy Mills, Thanet’s RNLI Community Safety Officer says: “The RNLI really want you to enjoy yourself when you visit the coast but with some more hot weather on the way, our fantastic Thanet beaches are naturally a draw for many people – but sadly this also means more people tragically losing their lives or getting into serious danger at the coast, which we have unfortunately seen during the recent heatwave across the UK and Ireland.”
RNLI media contacts
Andy Mills, Thanet RNLI Community Safety Officer: firstname.lastname@example.org
Paul Dunt, Regional Media Officer (South East), 0207 6207426, 07785 296252 email@example.com
For enquiries outside normal business hours, contact the RNLI duty press officer on 01202 336789
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.