I can’t believe we are coming to the end of November already! We have been blessed with some really good weather recently and not too much rain. This month’s blog is all about knowing who to call in a coastal emergency.  Surprisingly, over half the people we talk to when we are out and about at community events, on beaches and coastal areas do not know that in the event of seeing or hearing an animal or a person in difficulty in the water that they should dial ‘999’ they should ask for the Coastguard straight away. Many people opt to call the Police or Fire Service which wastes several vital  minutes.

Coastguard Rescue Team Vehicles

The Coastguard have Operations Centre’s (CGOC’s) dotted across the UK, at Aberdeen, Belfast, Dover,  Falmouth, Holyhead, Humber, London, Milford Haven, Shetland, Stornaway and the National Maritime Operations Centre at Fareham. Each is staffed 24/7 and answers ‘999’ calls from members of the public and Mayday distress calls via radio. In the event of an emergency at the coast, they will co-ordinate the tasking of search and rescue assets eg RNLI boats, independent lifeboats, Coastguard Rescue teams who are trained in mud  and cliff rescue, advanced first aid, advanced missing person search techniques; and of course search and rescue helicopters.

Thanet RNLI Community Safety Team’s recent visit to Dover CGOC

Lifeboats and Coastguard are regularly called out to dogs who have either ventured or fallen down a cliff; or gone for an extended swim (often the owner may have also been cut-off by the tide).  If this should happen then the Coastguard should be called without delay via ‘999’ who will then task the lifeboat or Coastguard rescue team. Our Team enjoyed a recent visit to the Dover CGOC where we learned alot about how the Coastguard operates. Remember don’t delay if you think anyone or an animal is in trouble in the water call ‘999’ and ask for the Coastguard.

Other useful references:

Maritime and Coastguard Agency Terms of Reference

Search and Rescue Information

Keeping Safe At The Coast – Don’t Drink and Drown

Coastal Safety

 

 


Andy Mills

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