Key messages library

Plan for a great day
  • Know where you are going – carry a map/chart and compass and know how to use them
  • Keep your energy levels up – carry food and drink
  • Make sure your mobile is charged – but don’t rely on it for navigation and communication
  • Apply sun cream, wear a sun hat
  • Keep in touch – make sure you carry an appropriate means of calling for help should you need to
  • Know where you’re going – choose a suitable route and allow enough time
  • Check the latest weather and ground conditions before you set off – take advice, only attempt a route if the conditions are within you and your companions’ capabilities
  • Plan your passage – check if there are any hazards or navigational risks that you should avoid
  • Be sure you have a means of calling the coastguard and can indicate where you are to a rescuer should you need to.
  • If it has a kill cord use it!
  • Check the latest weather forecast before settng out to sea or on the river
  • Regularly monitor coastguard maritime safety information broadcasts for updates while at sea
  • Check the anticipated currents and tidal predictions for your trip and make sure they fit with what you’re planning to do
  • Let someone ashore know your plan and make sure they know what to do if they become concerned for your safety
  • Make sure that everyone on board, or in your group, knows where the safety equipment is stowed and how to use it
Know your limits
  • Be honest with yourself about you and your companions’ knowledge, fitness and ability
  • Check the latest weather and ground conditions before you set off -take advice, only attempt a route if the conditions are within you and your companions’ capabilities
  • If the weather or ground conditions are beyond your capabilities, or equipment, consider your options – it’s ok to choose a more suitable route or to turn back
Know how and when to get help
  • If you find someone in trouble, call for help, don’t put yourself at risk
    Inland: In an emergency call 999 – ask for the police and then the Mountain rescue
    Inland waters: In an emergency call 999 – ask for Fire & Rescue Service
    Inland waters: In an emergency call 999 – ask for Fire & Rescue Service
    Sea and coastal area: In an emergency call 999 – ask for the Coastguard
  • Carry a whistle – six short blasts in short succession, repeated at 1 minute intervals is the international distress signal (you can also flash your torch in a similar manner)
Don’t let your dog lead you astray
  • If your dog is chased by cattle remember to release it off the lead
  • If your dog is in difficulty, water or otherwise, call for help, don’t put yourself at risk
    Inland: In an emergency call 999 – ask for the police and then the Mountain rescue
    Inland waters: In an emergency call 999 – ask for Fire & Rescue Service
    Sea and coastal area: In an emergency call 999 – ask for the Coastguard
  • If your dog is in difficulty in the sea call the Coastguard – don’t enter the water after it
Let the experts show you the way
  • If you’re doing something new or going somewhere new why not go with a qualified guide/instructor or sign up for some training
  • Look for well described, promoted routes suitable for your ability – Use with links to National Park Authority websites, described routes
The right gear’s a good idea
  • Know your kit – carry spares and be able to fit them
  • Apply sun cream, wear a sun hat
  • Carry a torch – it’ll save the day if you get caught out by the dark – six short torch flashes in short succession, repeated at 1 minute intervals is an international distress signal
  • Carry a whistle – six short blasts in short succession, repeated at 1 minute intervals is the international distress signal (you can also flash your torch in a similar manner)
  • Stay warm and dry; Wear walking boots, carry insulating layers and waterproofs
  • A fall might break your day – a good helmet and protective clothing might make your day
  • Look after your boat – know how to fix common problems and how to carry out basic maintenance
  • Understand the sources of carbon monoxide poisoning and the risks associated with it. Get Wise, Get Alarmed, Get out
  • Wear the right footwear – proper boating footwear allows you to move around without slipping
  • Register your Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon and/or Personal Locator Beacon – it could speed up your rescue and even save your life
  • Make a habit of clipping on to suitable points around the boat at night, when alone on deck, or in rough conditions
Respect the Water
  • Don’t get cut off by the tides – check tide times
  • Where possible choose a lifeguarded beach and swim between the red and yellow flags
  • If the beach isn’t lifeguarded, know how to spot and avoid a rip current
  • If you are caught in a rip, don’t try to swim against it. If you can, stand wade, don’t swim. If you can’t stand, swim parallel to the shore, raise your hand and shout for help
  • When seas are rough, wave watch from a respectful distance – 15cm of water can knock you off your feet
  • Don’t mix water with alcohol
  • Don’t swim in reservoirs
  • Don’t jump into pools unless you know there are no hazards beneath the water
  • Wear a well-fitted, well-maintained and suitable personal floatation device (lifejacket or buoyancy aid)
  • If wild swimming, wear a high visibility cap and carry a floatation device
Float to Live
  • Cold water shock passes in less than 2 minutes, so relax and float on your back until you can control your breath

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