Message from George Rawlinson, new Chair of the National Water Safety Forum

I’m honoured to have been offered the post of Chair and willingly accepted it. The opportunities abound and I’m inspired by the future and NWSF’s quest to save more lives. I believe we can take NWSF to another level. By using the collective influence and collaborative power of all partners and members, we can raise its profile and make an even bigger societal impact throgeorge-rawlinsonugh water safety with the vital ‘WAID’ database and its outputs underpinning and informing our work. It’s so important to support, develop and use ‘WAID’ in the short medium and long term.

The achievements to date by our working groups are already impressive and on behalf of the coordinating group, I thank RoSPA in their role as secretariat, as well as, Tony Stammers who has been Acting Chair and Jim Watson Deputy Chair for their commitment and hard work. Both Tony and Jim will continue as deputies and I’m hugely grateful to them for their on-going support.

NWSF working groups and members provide expertise and advice to a wide range of people and organisations engaged in many different activities from beach to diving to inland waters. What excites me about the NWSF is its ability to harness and use this talent and strategic relations while respecting the aims and objectives of the individual organisations involved.

As the RNLI’s Operations Director I strive to draw on my 25 years of RNLI operational experience when thinking about the future and what we can all do to prevent drowning, promote a water safety culture and make a real difference to society and I recognise the value of collaboration. I’ve been fortunate to experience and benefit from a wealth of knowledge and expertise offered by other like-minded organisations. Through our combined efforts we can position the NSWF to play a key role in water safety and be the voice of authority on the subject.

Like the RNLI, I believe all members have an aspiration to prevent drowning and make the water safer for all. By galvanising our collective desire for a national strategy to tackle drowning, the NWSF coordinating group has already moved this initiative on significantly.

At December’s strategy workshop a plan was devised which will lead to a National Strategy. It’s impressive and a mark of commitment that a dedicated project group has now formed to progress these plans. The project group has started work in earnest to create the strategy ahead of a launch date set for a target after the General Elections.

The strategy is essential and creates an ideal platform for NWSF to demonstrate its leadership and role. It also ties into the World Health Organisation’s recent global drowning report where they are calling for nations to develop strategies that will address the problem estimated at 372,000 lives lost each year worldwide. With this in mind, the communications groups will be looking at how best to position the strategy and raise the profile of NWSF with all stakeholders to ensure our voice is heard.

So, there are exciting and busy times ahead and I’m looking forward to being even more involved with the NWSF work and plans for the future, as well meeting the people and organisations involved.

Thank you for all that you and your respective organisations do to support and further the aims and objectives of the NWSF. Please do not hesitate to make contact with me concerning the NWSF and its work.

George Rawlinson

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The RNLI ‘Respect the Water’ campaign

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Despite the best efforts of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution’s volunteer crews and lifeguards –  Did you know that around 150 people still lose their lives around the UK coast each year, and around 80% are men?

….And are you aware that cold water shock occurs in water less than 15 degrees, but the average UK sea temperature is just 12?

Pictured L-R Back - Virginia Billcliff (RNLI Volunteer), Denise Cobb (Brighton and Hove Mayor), James Haskell (Wasps and England Rugby Player) and Dan Gurr (RNLI Volunteer).

Denise Cobb (Brighton and Hove Mayor), James Haskell (Wasps and England Rugby Player) and RNLI volunteers Supporting Respect the Water campaign. Picture by Brighton Togs http://www.brightontogs.com

You may also be surprised to know that just one metre cubed of water weighs a tonne, and that is not a lot of water. Although as water safety professionals some of this may seem obvious, our research shows that many of those most at risk underestimate such facts, and therefore put themselves in situations of increased and unnecessary risk.

These findings underpinned a new RNLI coastal safety campaign called ‘Respect the Water’ last summer to help raise awareness about dangers of drowning and general risks around the coast. The campaign was piloted in the South-East of England during August and was launched in Brighton by England rugby star James Haskell who kindly gave his time for free to support the RNLI.

The campaign consisted of traditional outdoor posters and PR activity, but also a combination of radio adverts, digital banners and specially designed pint glasses and beer mats to warn about the dangers of drinking and swimming. An experiential road show visited three key locations and included a custom built ‘tonne of water’ and water filled punch bag to engage with adult men, those who are most at risk of drowning.  The campaign used facts, real stories and local content to it interesting and relevant, challenging that alpha male bravado which is often associated with keeping safe around water. Even though you are tough and strong, could you push yourself against a tonne of water, or how long could you fight against the water, the opponent that will never tire?

Pictured L-R: Denise Cobb (Brighton and Hove Mayor) and James Haskell (Wasps and England Rugby Player). They were today supporting Respect the Water.

Pictured L-R: Denise Cobb (Brighton and Hove Mayor) and James Haskell (Wasps and England Rugby Player). They were today supporting Respect the Water. Picture by Brighton Togs www.brightontogs.com

We are proud to announce the pilot won three prestigious DMA awards (Direct Marketing Association) in December, with gold for best use of experiential, two bronze for best media strategy and best use of copy, and a nomination for best creative solution. The campaign was completing against international brands such as Virgin Holidays, 02, Honda, Unicef, Unilever, EE and IBM to name a few, so we are delighted with such recognition so early on in the development of the campaign.

The plan for 2014 is to increase coverage to a national scale around the coastline of the UK, with focused activity in up to ten locations identified by the RNLI as areas of significant risk and a high number of incidents.

Written by: Ross MacLeod, Coastal Safety Manager (Marketing), the Royal National Lifeboat Institution.

News & Updates November ’13

The BSAC Diving Incident Report 2013 has been released

The Annual Diving Incident Report for 2013 is now available to download from the BSAC website. Published by BSAC every year, the 2013 report recorded a total of 263 incidents throughout the UK.
The number of incidents reported this year is about 29% lower than the level of recent years and it follows the trend noted in 2012. This reduction is due to a lower number of incidents reported in the period March to June. It is believed that this was caused by the very poor weather conditions in the UK during this period resulting in a reduced amount of diving taking place. Other highlighted conclusions from the latest report include:

  • The number of fatalities of BSAC members is slightly below the average of the previous 10 years.
  • The number of fatalities of non-BSAC members is in line with the average of the previous 10 years.
  • The causal factors associated with these fatalities and other incidents are very similar to those seen over a number of years; no new causal factors have been identified.
  • Diver age and related health and fitness issues are still featuring as critical factors in this and recent years’ fatalities. The average age of the subjects of this year’s diving fatalities was 52.2. The average age of the background diving population in 2013 is 42.5.
  • Incidents of DCI continue to fall.
  • Ascent related incidents continue to reduce.
  • Incidents relating to ‘Boating & Surface’ events have dropped back to earlier levels.

The above conclusions need to be viewed in the light of a probable overall reduction in the amount of UK diving that has taken place in this period. However, as has been stated many times before, most of the incidents reported within this document could have been avoided had those involved followed a few basic principles of safe diving practice. BSAC publishes a booklet called ‘Safe Diving’ (new edition imminent) which summarises all the key elements of safe diving and is available to all, free of charge, from the http://www.bsac.com/page.asp?section=1019

Help us to keep diving safe – If you have been involved in or witnessed an incident, please report it – in confidence – and help us to continue to shape a safe future for diving. Whether you are BSAC or another agency, a recreational or technical diver or if the incident happened in the UK or overseas, we want to hear about it. All reports are treated in confidence and any details used in future reports will be anonymous.
You can report incidents at any time online.

RNLI scheme helps sea anglers stay safe

A new pilot scheme created by the RNLI is aiming to help keep sea anglers safe while they enjoy their sport. Last year 11 sea anglers tragically lost their lives while fishing in the UK* and the RNLI responded to over 1,200 incidents involving anglers. The RNLI is working with bait and tackle shops to pilot a Retail Ambassador Scheme, in which the charity helps the shops give their customers safety advice.
Chris Adams, RNLI Coastal Safety Manager, said:

‘It is not about preventing people fishing from rocks or exposed shorelines, but helping them take the right steps to enjoy their sport safely. ’

There are some simple things that anglers can do to keep themselves safe:

–          wear a lifejacket

–          Check the weather and tides before you head out

–          Tell someone where you’re going and when you expect to be back

–          Carry a means of calling for help

–          If you’re fishing from a boat, keep it well maintained.

*Statistics taken from the National Water Safety Forum’s Water Incident Database (WAID).Download Tackle shops help the RNLI keep anglers safe

England’s bathing waters see record improvement

New figures show that almost 99 per cent of England’s bathing waters meet strict quality standards. Water quality around England’s coasts has dramatically improved since last year, new figures from Defra have revealed today. Nearly all of England’s bathing waters have met strict quality standards, with almost 99 per cent of England’s bathing waters meeting the minimum European water quality standard, and over 82 per cent, the highest ever number of bathing waters – meeting the tighter guideline standard. Environment Minister, Dan Rogerson said: “England’s bathing waters have seen record improvements, meeting the highest standard this year and we need to make sure they continue to remain of good quality. Having quality bathing water and beaches is not only good for the environment but also boosts tourism and creates a stronger local economy. From 2015 the water quality at Britain’s beaches will be measured against stricter levels. The revised EU Bathing Water Directive sets much higher water quality standards which are approximately twice as stringent as the current standards”.

Lord Chris Smith, Chairman of the Environment Agency, said: “The improvement in the quality of UK bathing waters this year is really good news, but with much stricter standards coming into force in 2015, we cannot afford to be complacent. The Environment Agency is working hard with local authorities, businesses and water companies to ensure that bathing waters meet the new standards, and the seaside tourist economy in England continues to thrive”.

Bathing water results for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are published by the Scottish Government, the Welsh Government and the Department of Environment Northern Ireland respectively. For more information on the Improving water quality policy go to: https://www.gov.uk/government/policies/improving-water-quality

Bathing waters in England: 2013 compliance report

NWSF News & Updates October ’13

The 2012 UK Water related fatalities; Water Incident Database Report has been released!

This report is the first release of WAID fatality information for 2012, and has been compiled by members of the National Water Safety Forum.
We gratefully acknowledge those organisations that have contributed data and special thanks are also extended to the contributing police, fire and rescue services. For further information on the WAID service please see: http://www.nationalwatersafety.org.uk/waid
Previous WAID UK Annual Fatal Incident reports, dating back to 2009 are available on the Forum’s website: http://www.nationalwatersafety.org.uk/waid/reports.asp

MAIB Safety Bulletin 3/2013 – Wacker Quacker 1 / Cleopatra published

Summary: The MAIB has issued Safety Bulletin 3/2013 following the sinking of the DUKW amphibious vehicle Wacker Quacker 1 in Salthouse Dock, Liverpool on 15 June 2013 and the fire on board the DUKW amphibious vehicle Cleopatra on the River Thames, London on 29 September 2013. Issued 28 October 2013. Safety Bulletin 3_2013.pdf (4.38 kb) http://www.maib.gov.uk/cms_resources.cfm?file=/Safety%20Bulletin%203_2013.pdf

Arklow Meadow Accident Investigation Report 21/2013 published

Summary: MAIB Report on the investigation into a release of phosphine gas during cargo discharge on board Arklow Meadow, Warrenpoint, Northern Ireland on 5 December 2012. Report No 21/2013. Published 3 October 2013. View or download the full report: http://www.maib.gov.uk/publications/investigation_reports/2013/arklow_meadow.cfm

mv Amber Accident Investigation Report 22/2013 published

Summary: The MAIB report on the investigation of the contact and grounding of the bulk carrier mv Amber at Gravesend Reach, River Thames on 15 November 2012, was published on 24 October 2013. Report No 22/2013. View or download the full report: http://www.maib.gov.uk/cms_resources.cfm?file=/mvAmber.pdf

Busiest summer in years – Says the RNLI

The RNLI have released provisional figures from over the summer period, showing sharp rises in the number of lifeboat launches across the UK. Across the UK and Republic of Ireland, the charity’s lifeboats launched 4,300 times – the most in 24 years – and lifeguards attended 14,814 Incidents.

Wales – Lifeboat launches across Wales between June – August rocketed by 43 per cent compared with summer 2012. Statistics reveal RNLI lifeboats and lifeguards across Wales have been exceptionally busy, with RNLI lifeguards responding to 946 incidents and RNLI lifeboats launching 726 times. Of the 31 lifeboat stations in Wales, 24 reported an increase in emergency calls with some experiencing dramatic rises. http://rnli.org/NewsCentre/Pages/RNLI-in-Wales-reports-busiest-summer-in-24-years.aspx

Northern Ireland – The lifeboats in Northern Ireland launching 138 times during the months of June, July and August, an increase of 20 per cent on the previous summer. The charity’s lifeguards were also busy on ten beaches with 259 recorded incidents, an increase from 142 incidents in 2012. http://rnli.org/NewsCentre/Pages/RNLI-figures-show-busy-summer-for-Northern-Ireland-lifeboats-and–lifeguards.aspx

Manx Lifeboat – Lifeboat launches across the Isle of Man between June – August rocketed by nearly 50 per cent. Of the five RNLI lifeboat stations on the island, Douglas, Peel and Ramsey have all reported a marked increase in call-outs. The most notable rise has been in services by the island’s all-weather lifeboats which have increased from 13 incidents in 2012 to 26 in 2013. http://rnli.org/NewsCentre/Pages/Rise-in-Manx-lifeboat-launches-as-RNLI-reports-busiest-summer-in-24-years.aspx

East of England – 15 stations in the east coast of England launched a total 319 times between June and August 2013. This represents a very small drop of just 4.7 per cent from the 335 launches recorded in 2012. In addition, the charity’s lifeguards, which operate on 15 beaches in the east of England, were kept busy as they responded to 904 incidents during the 2013 summer season. http://rnli.org/NewsCentre/Pages/A-busy-summer-2013-for-lifeboat-crews-and-lifeguards-in-the-East-of-England.aspx

London’s lifeboat – Statistics from the charity, which runs lifeboats from three bases along the River Thames, show there were a total of 263 separate lifeboat launches between June and August 2013. This is just a handful more than the 253 launches recorded in the same period in 2012. Once again two of the RNLI’s London lifeboat stations were in the top five busiest of all 236 lifeboat stations around the UK and Republic of Ireland. The busiest was Tower station, which operates from a floating pier below Waterloo Bridge. Meanwhile Chiswick station, situated at Corney Reach Pier in the town, was ranked third busiest overall. http://rnli.org/NewsCentre/Pages/Lifesaving-statistics-show-a-busy-summer-2013-for-RNLI-London-lifeboats.aspx

North of England – The charity’s volunteer lifeboat crews carried out 598 rescue launches in June, July and August – a 28.9% increase on the previous year. Only the summers of 2003 (632 launches) and 2009 (634 launches) were busier. RNLI lifeguards also experienced a busy season in the north, dealing with 1,408 incidents compared to 1,143 last summer – a 23.2% increase. http://rnli.org/NewsCentre/Pages/Busy-summer-for-the-RNLIs-lifesavers-in-the-north-of-England.aspx

South-West RegionRNLI teams across the South West have been kept busy this summer, provisional statistics for the period June, July and August show a 24% increase in incidents for RNLI lifeguards, and lifeboat crews attending 652 rescues. RNLI lifeguards dealt with 10,615 incidents across the south west, including water based rescues, major and minor first aids and missing children.http://rnli.org/NewsCentre/Pages/Summer-sunshine-keeps-south-west-RNLI-lifesavers-busy.aspx

Scotland – There were more than five lifeboat launches a day Scotland-wide, during a busy summer for the RNLI’s lifeboats. The total number of launches for June, July and August was 476 across Scotland’s 47 stations, just short of the record-breaking Summer of 2008 when there were 480 launches. There were 440 launches during the 2012 summer.
The busiest station in Scotland was Broughty Ferry with 43 launches for its two boats, compared with 23 the previous year.
http://rnli.org/NewsCentre/Pages/Tobermory-RNLI-is-busiest-all-weather-lifeboat-station-in-Scotland-in-Summer-2011.aspx

Ireland – RNLI volunteer lifeboat crews in Ireland were kept busy this summer, with the charity’s lifeboats launching 571 times during the months of June, July and August. The figure represents an increase of 43 per cent on the previous summer.
http://rnli.org/NewsCentre/Pages/RNLI-figures-show-major-increase-in-Irish-lifeboat-launches-during-busy-summer.aspx

NWSF News & Updates August ’13

England rugby star James Haskell launches RNLI Respect the Water campaign
The RNLI launched a new drowning awareness and water safety campaign – ‘Respect the Water’ – in Brighton during August. The campaign, was launched by England Rugby International and London Wasps flanker James Haskell, and was trialled throughout August in Sussex, Kent and Hampshire aiming to highlight the risks around the coast, with the long-term goal of reducing the number of incidents and fatalities. To highlight the need for the campaign, the charity has revealed some key statistics about coastal fatalities:
– Around 150 people die around the UK coast each year – that’s more than those killed in cycling accidents.
– Six times more men drown around the coast each year than women.
– Key causes of coastal drownings are rip currents; cold water shock; slips, trip and falls; alcohol and fatigue.
– Cold water shock can occur in any temperature below 15 o C. The average sea temperature in the UK is just 12o C.
The campaign, which offers key safety tips, has a particular focus on men aged 25-65, as this demographic represents the biggest number of fatalities.
Key causes of coastal fatalities in the UK are: rip currents; cold water shock; slips, trip and falls; alcohol and fatigue.
For more information and safety tips go to: http://rnli.org/NewsCentre/Pages/England-rugby-star-James-Haskell-launches-RNLI-Respect-the-Water-campaign.aspx

Calling all divers! Help compile the 2013 BSAC’s Annual Incident Report and contribute to a research project…..

BSAC’s Annual Incident Report 2013 deadline fast approaching
The closing date for incident submissions for BSAC’s Annual Incident Report is 14th October 2013.
Every year, BSAC compiles a comprehensive Annual Incident Report to aid diver safety by sharing information and allowing all divers to learn from the reports of others.
The reporting year runs from 1st October to 30th September each year to fit with both the diving season and to allow compilation of the report in time for publication. It is important that all reports are submitted as soon as possible in order to be included in this year’s report and so we would remind all members to submit reports for any incidents, occurring between 1st October 2012 and 30th September 2013, by Monday 14th October. The data provided by in BSAC’s Annual report is also used by the WAter Incident Database, and contributes to the Annual UK water related fatality reports. About WAID: http://www.nationalwatersafety.org.uk/waid/index.asp
Incident Report Form: Copies of an electronic Incident Report Form are available for download (where you can also download copies of previous reports) Please note that all reports are treated in strictest confidence and reassurance that names and other identifying characteristics are not included in the published report.

Divers called on to help RNLI with safety research
Divers and dive instructors are being called on to help lifesaving charity the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) with important research into participation and attitudes to risk and safety in the sport by taking part in an online survey. Last year alone, 314 diving incidents were reported to the British Sub-Aqua Club (BSAC).
With the support of BSAC, the RNLI, in partnership with the British Diving Safety Group (BDSG), is asking divers and dive instructors in the UK to take ten minutes to complete an online survey, which looks at their reasons for participating in diving, how often they take to the water, preferred methods and locations, experience and training, awareness of possible hazards and use of safety measures.
The findings will be used to help the RNLI and BDSG develop tailored and relevant safety messages for the diving community, to help make the sport even safer. Launched on 27 August, the survey run for nine weeks, during which time anyone who dives in the UK – no matter how often or what level of experience, can take part. Take a few minutes of your time to support this valuable research and complete the survey at http://www.rnlidiving.substance.coop

Invitation for all Hire Boat Operators to Attend Open Forums – to improve safety
The UK’s inland waterway navigation authorities are inviting boat hire operators and other interested parties to participate in a general review of hirer safety, and especially to attend regional open forums across the UK. These are the key questions at the top of the review –
How safe is hire-boating?
What are the biggest risks?
What, if anything, should we do to reduce them?
The review, which is limited to self-drive, powered hire boats, with or without overnight accommodation, has the intention of striking an appropriate balance between the roles and responsibilities of the navigation authorities, hire operators and hirers in ensuring hirer safety.
The outcomes will influence the Boat Safety Scheme (BSS) standards for hire boats, which were last reviewed in 2002, as well as ensure that safety-focused licensing conditions for hire boat operators are proportionate. By the end of the event, participants will have:
– Shared their knowledge and experience of hirer safety
– Had the opportunity to influence the BSS hire boat requirements and navigation authority hire boat licensing conditions relevant to hirer safety
– Helped to define the roles and responsibilities that the navigation authorities, hire operators and the hirers themselves have for safe boating
To find out more about the hirer safety review and, if you are a hire operator to find the link for the event booking form go to http://www.boatsafetyscheme.org/hirer-safety-review-2013 .

150 Incidents in three months: Do you know how to operate your Personal Water Craft?
In the past three months, HM Coastguard has seen an increase in the number of calls about jet skis or personal water craft (PWC). From 1st May to 1st August 2013, the number of incidents logged on HM Coastguard’s database totalled more than 150. These ranged from mechanical issues, running out of fuel or even concern that PWCs were too close to swimmers. In comparison to the same period last year (2012), HM Coastguard recorded 95 incidents. Chris Turner, HM Coastguard’s National Liaison Officer for Jet Skis and PWCs, said:
“You need to make sure you know how to operate these powerful machines. The last thing you want is to find yourself in the water after being thrown off. This is also why we always recommend that you wear a buoyancy aid and ensure you’re using a kill cord, so if you end up in the water, the engine will stop. It’s also worth taking with you a hand held VHF radio, so you can contact the Coastguard if you get into difficulty. A Personal Locator Beacon ( PLB) may be useful for more remote locations, along with mini flares and a charged mobile phone. Jet skis and PWCs have gone too fast and too close to shore. This is a concern to us as it’s putting swimmers and other beach-goers in danger. The advice is simple. Check if any bylaws are in place, stick to them and be respectful of others in the water. If you see anyone in difficulty at the coast, call 999 and ask for the Coastguard.” http://www.dft.gov.uk/mca/mcga07-home/newsandpublications/press-releases.htm?id=F6E274551527E6F7&m=8&y=2013

The 2013 RoSPA National Water Safety Seminar: “Risk research and reality: empowering local prevention” is to be held on October 17th, at The Lowry, Salford Quays.
Organised by RoSPA with the National Water Safety Forum (NWSF), the RoSPA National Water Safety Seminar is recognised as the key annual multi-discipline update event for UK water safety professionals.
Opening with the introduction of the UK’s first water safety and drowning strategy, the seminar provides a mix of conference style learning updates, multiple topic tracks, and outdoor workshops – aiming to inform and resource you in your own role. For further information please contact : events@rospa.com

News and Updates May ’13

Fisherman Launch new film titled – Lifejacket: A Fisherman’s Friend
Two Bridlington fishermen have made a short film to encourage their fellow fishermen to wear lifejackets whilst at sea. The two minute film, entitled "Lifejacket: a fisherman's friend" is available at
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The decision to make the film came after a panel of experts concluded that 26 fishermen could still be alive today had they been wearing a lifejacket when they were involved in an incident at sea (2007-11 figures). The Fishing Industry Safety Group (FISG), were so alarmed by the new statistic that they put the idea of a short film forward to fishermen Dylan Silverwood and Christopher Stewart. They then made the film, with some help from FISG members.
"I wouldn't like to go to sea without a lifejacket", says salmon fisherman Dylan Silverwood. "When you hit the water, you start gasping like a fish, so unless you've got your lifejacket on, you could be in real difficulties. If you're a fisherman, please watch our little film and consider buying a lifejacket and using it whenever you set to sea. It really is quite easy to wear one – a lifejacket isn't heavy or cumbersome – and it could save your life."
This is the first in a series of films that fishermen will be making about buoyancy wear for different types of fishing.

Southwold Pier-to-Pub Swim: Dozens rescued from the sea
Dozens of people taking part in a charity sea swim off Suffolk had to be rescued after getting into difficulty.
More than 130 swimmers in Southwold had problems, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) confirmed. Four RNLI lifeboats and a rescue helicopter were involved from about 13:00 BST, after initial reports that up to 90 people were missing.
Two people were taken to James Paget Hospital in Gorleston with suspected hypothermia, the MCA spokeswoman added. The organisers of the race have not yet commented on the rescue operation.
The MCA spokeswoman said it was unclear how the swimmers got into trouble as weather conditions were fine, but the water was “very cold”. Some swimmers were rescued by lifeboat while a number of people swam to the shore themselves, she said.
Eyewitnesses spoke of exhausted swimmers coming out of the sea and being wrapped in towels, while a lifeboat hut close to the pier was turned into a makeshift emergency centre.
Organised by Active Outdoor Sport, the swim started north of the pier and was due to finish a mile down the coast. Read the full story: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-22674418

Scrapping of HSE offshore division will undermine safety, survey finds
A survey released today of 5000 North Sea oil and gas workers has found that 75% believe the Governments decision to scrap the Health and Safety Executive’s offshore division will undermine offshore safety.
The survey, released by OilandGasPeople.com, also found 62% were worried that the scrapping of the unit would lead to another Piper Alpha disaster. The oil and gas workers questioned the timing of the decision to close the division two months before the 25th anniversary of the Piper Alpha Disaster. The setting up of the dedicated HSE offshore division was a key recommendation of Lord Cullen’s report into ways to prevent another disaster taking place. The decision also comes at a time when oil and gas workers are feeling more at risk. 72% believe that it is the worst possible time to close the Health and Safety Executive’s offshore division, given recent concerns over ageing platforms and closures of platforms due to safety issues, such as the recent leak at the Cormorant Alpha platform.

“While there is no doubt that safety on North Sea oil and gas rigs has improved immeasurable since Lord Cullen’s report into the Piper Alpha disaster, our survey clearly shows that rig workers are concerned by the timing of the decision to cut one of Lord Cullen’s key recommendations, in the year of the 25thanniversary of the disaster itself,” said Kevin Forbes, CEO of Oilandgaspeople.com.

“What’s more, the decision comes at a time when workers are feeling greater concern because of ageing platforms and recent leaks, such as on the Cormorant Alpha platform. It isn’t surprisingly that the combination of the cutting of the HSE dedicated offshore division and ageing platforms has left many offshore workers feeling more at risk,” he said.
Read the full story: http://www.oilandgaspeople.com/news/717/scrapping-of-hse-offshore-division-will-undermine-safety-survey-finds/

RNLI lifeguard patrols finish for Summer the season

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The RNLI is advising people to take care around the South West coastline this autumn as lifeguard cover officially comes to an end on Sunday (30 September).

As lifeguards prepare to pack up for the winter, the charity will maintain patrols at weekends and half term in October on the region’s 12 busiest beaches. This weekend (Sunday 30 September) sees the official end of the RNLI lifeguard season in Cornwall, Devon, Dorset and Jersey. Lifeguard cover will continue on 12 of the busiest beaches across the region during weekends in October and throughout the school half term break. These beaches include Praa Sands, Gwithian, Porthmeor, Porthtowan, Perranporth, Polzeath, Widemouth and Summerleaze in Cornwall and Bantham, Croyde and Woolacombe in Devon.
For the second year running Fistral will have full time cover during October and will also be patrolled during weekends in November by volunteer lifeguards.
RNLI Lifeguard Inspector Steve Instance says;

“This year has been another busy season for RNLI lifeguards on beaches around the south west as the teams have dealt with a range of incidents from major and minor first aids, lost children, and numerous rescues of people in difficulty in the water. Thanks to additional funding from local authorities and private beach owners, the charity is again able to extend the lifeguard season into October on a selection of beaches providing safety cover for those looking to prolong the summer season and enjoy the favourable surf conditions that autumn brings. We encourage people heading to the coast at weekends and during half term to visit these beaches where the charity’s lifesavers will be on hand to keep people safe, offering useful advice to help prevent accidents and a rapid reaction if something does go wrong”.

The charity’s volunteer RNLI lifeboat crews remain on call 24 hours a day ready to respond to anyone in difficulty around the coast.

It is essential that people are aware of the dangers and know how to look after themselves in the water to prevent incidents.
We’d recommend that people take note of the safety signage at the entrance to the beach, always go with a friend or tell someone on the shore where they are going and be aware of the conditions and their own capabilities in the water.

If water users should find themselves in difficulty they should keep hold of their surf or bodyboard as it’ll help keep them afloat. Walkers should also find out about the local tide times and avoid visiting more remote parts of the shoreline when the tide is coming in.
More beach safety advice can be found at www.rnli.org.uk 

RNLI Memorial in Poole has 28 lifesavers names added

The names of 28 people who lost their lives saving others at sea have been added to the RNLI memorial at the charity’s headquarters in Dorset. The memorial, first unveiled in Poole in 2009, originally carried the names of 778 RNLI lifesavers who died at sea. Additional names were found through further research and friends and family telling the stories of loved ones. They include Lyme Regis’s John Gerrard, killed in 1861, and Weymouth’s Cdr J R Pennington Legh, who died in 1944.
RNLI chief executive Paul Boissier said the memorial at the home of the RNLI “is designed to be a beacon of hope”.

RNLI reveals advanced lifeboat that will save 1,500 lives

Today (Tuesday 25 September) the RNLI will reveal its latest and most advanced class of lifeboat that will shape the future of lifesaving for the next 50 years – the Shannon class. The Shannon is the first modern RNLI all-weather lifeboat to be powered by water jets, not propellers, and capable of 25 knots the Shannon is 50% faster than the lifeboats it replaces – ensuring that those in need are reached even faster. The charity will need to build over 50 new Shannons within the next ten years to replace the older classes of lifeboat. Once the newly designed Shannon class is rolled out, all RNLI all-weather lifeboats will be capable of 25 knots.

Surf’s up! Jersey school children take to the waves with RNLI lifeguards

School children on Jersey headed to the beach with RNLI lifeguards this summer to learn vital lessons about how to keep themselves safe in the surf. A total of 170 children from four schools took part in the charity’s unique Hit the Surf scheme which was delivered on Jersey for the first time this year. The programme sees RNLI lifeguards give surf safety sessions to youngsters aged between 7 and 11 – combining theory and practical lessons, which aim to make the children more capable and confident in the water.

Dave Gorman, the RNLI Lifeguard Manager who runs the programme, says:

“We were delighted to introduce the Hit the Surf programme to schools on Jersey. Hit the Surf is a fun and active programme for the children to get involved in but it also carries some very important messages about how to stay safe in the surf and what to do should they find themselves in difficulty”.