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RNLI appointment addresses sea safety off Thanet’s coastline

Lifeboats News Release

A volunteer member of Margate’s RNLI lifeboat crew has taken on the role of local Community Safety Officer to raise awareness of the dangers around Thanet’s coastline.

Andy Mills (left) explaining the role of CSO to Margate Task Force (RNLI Margate)

RNLI Margate

Andy Mills (left) explaining the role of CSO to Margate Task Force (RNLI Margate)

The RNLI has a goal of halving accidental drownings in the UK by 2024 and part of its Community Lifesaving Plan aims to change the behaviour of groups and individuals identified as being ‘at risk’ of becoming a rescue statistic for lifeboat crews. To help raise safety awareness at a local level, volunteer Community Safety Officers are being appointed and Andy Mills has now taken up the role at Margate.

Andy is a civil servant and a member of Margate’s lifeboat crew. As part of the shorecrew he recently qualified as a driver of the Talus tractor used to launch the all-weather lifeboat.

His role as the Community Safety Officer involves developing a local lifesaving plan including identifying ‘at risk’ groups and providing targeted safety advice.

He has already been busy delivering Respect the Water literature to local groups including religious leaders who have contact with wider audiences. Safety advice has been passed to the local fishing community and dog walker safety posters distributed to seafront cafes and restaurants. RNLI statistics show that males aged 16-39 are at significant risk and groups such as local rugby clubs and park runners are being targeted in the drive to raise awareness of the potential dangers of the sea and shoreline.

Andy Mills, volunteer Community Safety Officer (Margate) said: ‘Lifeboats will always be needed to rescue those in trouble but by taking a proactive approach to safety we can hopefully better educate the public in enjoying the sea and coastline rather than the day ending in tragedy.’ He added: ‘The RNLI’s lifesavers helped over 29,000 people in 2016 and by gathering and analysing rescue statistics are able to identify those who are at particular risk, it is these people we are aiming to educate and influence and just another means of saving lives at sea.’

James Uren, RNLI Area Lifesaving Manager said: ‘We know that over half of those that died at the coast last year did not set out to go into the water. The appointment of this role plays a vital part in helping us reduce drowning by communicating our key safety messages in our local community through face-to-face engagement, promoting lifesaving interventions and education around water safety.’

ENDS

RNLI Media contacts

  • Peter Barker, RNLI Margate Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer 07974 064304 peter_barker@rnli.org.uk

  • Paul Dunt, Regional Media Officer (SouthEast), 0207 6207416, 07786 668825 paul_dunt@rnli.org.uk

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

Key facts about the RNLI

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution is the charity that saves lives at sea. Our volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service in the United Kingdom and Ireland from 238 lifeboat stations, including four along the River Thames and inland lifeboat stations at Loch Ness, Lough Derg, Enniskillen and Lough Ree. Additionally the RNLI has more than 1,000 lifeguards on over 240 beaches around the UK and operates a specialist flood rescue team, which can respond anywhere across the UK and Ireland when inland flooding puts lives at risk.

The RNLI relies on public donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. As a charity it is separate from, but works alongside, government-controlled and funded coastguard services. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824 our lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved at least 140,000 lives. Volunteers make up 95% of the charity, including 4,600 volunteer lifeboat crew members and 3,000 volunteer shore crew. Additionally, tens of thousands of other dedicated volunteers raise funds and awareness, give safety advice, and help in our museums, shops and offices.

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