Check tides and weather conditions before you set out

The Coastguard are warning people to check tidal conditions before they set out after two groups of teenagers have become cut off by the tide in the same place within days of each other.

Before you set out for the coast always check the weather and tidal conditions so that you can prepare accordingly. Consider whether you could become cut off and do not take risks and use cliffs as a short cut. Dial 999 and ask for the Coastguard if you are in danger.

Read more on the MCA website…

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Dangers of inflatable dinghies in open water

MCA remind the public that inflatable toy boats can easily be blown out to sea; if you do use them always ensure they are tethered to an adult who is standing at the waters edge with them. Inflatable boats and toys must not be used in an offshore wind. If people do find themselves being swept out to sea on an inflatable boat or toy, we advise you to stay with the boat or toy and shout for help, waving arms if possible. Do not attempt to swim for shore if out of your depth.

Read more on the MCA website…

Maritime and Coastguard Agency diving report released

HM Coastguard responded to 66 decompression illness and 32 rapid ascent incidents in 2010 according to the MCAs newly published diving report. Medical emergencies accounted for 32 incidents. The total number of incidents has increased in the last two years, sadly, including 12 fatalities.

Buoyancy remains a problem with many incidents of divers losing control of buoyancy, whilst at depth, on ascent and on the surface. The deployment of delayed marker buoys at depth and loss of buoyancy control whilst wearing a dry suit were significant causes of loss of buoyancy control. The report advises that divers familiarise themselves with new or different gear before planning deep dives and that they always dive within their limits.
Coastguard diving liaison officers based all over the UK support local diving and organise events in their own areas, to prevent accidents and support safe diving practices. Divers are welcome to visit or contact coastguard stations to obtain the latest safety advice.

Ken Bazeley the Maritime and Coastguard Agency national diving liaison officer offers this advice to divers:

Make sure that you’re adequately qualified and experienced for your diving plan, keeping a close eye on weather and sea conditions, and making your personal fitness a top priority for safe diving.

You can view the report at: http://www.dft.gov.uk/mca/2010_diving_report.pdf

Help us to avoid unnecessary searching says Coastguard

Portland Coastguard is asking members of the public and leisure maritime community to report missing equipment such as tenders, boards, kayaks and sails to them as soon as they become aware that they are lost, following a spate of unnecessary searches, due to abandoned equipment being found

Read more on the MCA website…

Enjoy the waterways safely this summer

Britain’s canals, rivers, reservoirs, and docks are enduringly popular, with around 300 million visits made to British Waterways’ 2,200 mile network each year. With the school holidays imminent, British Waterways and The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents are urging visitors to enjoy the waterways safely.

Read more on the British Waterways website…

Coasteering providers agree safety standards

Adventure firms that would usually be considered to be commercial competitors have joined forces to develop and promote shared safety standards for the emerging activity of Coasteering. The new guidance for Coasteering providers recognises that risk-taking is an integral part of an adventure activity that needs to be managed rather than eliminated.

Coasteering, which involves traversing the coast at the intertidal zone using a combination of scrambling, walking, swimming, and jumping, is now offered as an organised adventure activity by firms around the UK. Thousands of people are likely to take part in a Coasteering session this summer.

To respond to rising activity and increasing reports of incidents and near misses, an industry working group was set up involving around 120 Coasteering providers, plus the outdoor industry regulator (AALA) and safety and rescue organisations, under the direction of the National Water Safety Forum’s beach safety advisory group. Established in 2007, the working group has defined industry standards and good practice and published best practice guides – one covering skills and training for Coasteering guides, and the other outlining best practice for providers in managing the risks associated with Coasteering, including drowning, impact injuries and the effects of temperature.

A new industry group – the National Coasteering Charter (NCC) – has now been established to take forward the sharing and embedding of good practice across the sport. John-Paul Eatock, head of quality at Falmouth Marine School, has been appointed as its chairman. He said: “New and emerging sports like coasteering often have local pockets of knowledge and excellent practice. Defining, sharing and embedding good practice was the objective of the original working group and this will now be taken forward by the NCC.

Read more on the RoSPA website…

Ready, Set, Inflate! event breaks world record

Children and adults at Mudeford Quay, east Dorset helped to blow away the world record for life jacket inflations on 21 May as part of the worldwide Ready, Set, Inflate! day. The UK’s event saw 64 people inflate lifejackets and the UK was in the top three worldwide for the most inflations at a single event. There were 99 Ready, Set, Inflate! events on 21 May in the USA, Canada, Japan, Brazil, Australia and the UK.

Read more on the MCA website…

RNLI lifeguards issue rip warning after two rescues on the North Yorkshire coast

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) is warning about the dangers of rip currents after four people were rescued in North Yorkshire by the charity’s lifeguards this weekend. Following the rescues, the RNLI urged people to ensure they swim within the red and yellow flags on lifeguarded beaches. This is the most closely monitored area and is assessed by RNLI lifeguards each day as the safest place to swim.

The safe-swim area will be away from rips, which are strong currents running out to sea and can quickly take swimmers from shallow water out beyond their depth. They are especially powerful in larger surf but are also found around river mouths, estuaries and man-made structures like piers and groynes.

Read more on the RNLI website…