Newington pupils take part in water safety workshops

Vanessa Ray, from the RNLI, with Newington pupils

The sea is a great place for fun in the sun – but it must be treated with respect.

That’s the message from Ramsgate RNLI education volunteer Vanessa Ray who held a series of water safety workshops with children at Newington Community Primary School.

In an inter-active session she explained the work of lifeguards and the duties that pupils will see them performing during weekends and summer holiday, including the all-important red danger flag which means they must leave the sea immediately..

Pupils were shown a series of warning information flags and signs which advise the public when it is safe to go into the sea.

They also heard how lifeguards can help children if they get separated temporarily from their families by providing them with a wrist band with their adult’s phone number on it in water resistant marker; and how the lifeguard team can also help with minor injuries.

She said: “Lifeguards are your friends and are there to ensure that you have a safe time on the beach and in the water. They are trained and are valuable additions to our beaches.”

She also highlighted the work of the RNLI crews and gave pupils to the chance to try on the distinctive bright yellow steel toe-capped boots, waterproofs, lifejacket and protective helmet.

Teachers were given posters, information leaflets and booklets, and stickers to help maintain a high water safety profile around the school.

Head Teacher Cliff Stokes was a lifeguard for seven years, serving at Ramsgate and Margate sands during summer breaks when he was in university and during his first two years as a teacher.

He said: “The work the RNLI does is fantastic. It is important to respect the sea – I have seen first-hand some of the stupid things that people do and it is easy to get into trouble if you do not heed the warning advice and take care.

“The water safety advice our children receive is extremely sensible and valuable – it encourages good habits that will last a lifetime.”