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A unique opportunity for members of the MNA to act as Ambassadors for the RNLI Details of the partnership between the MNA Boat Club and the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) to promote the RNLI’s “Respect the Water” campaign are outlined below. The RNLI recognised the experience, skill and knowledge of MNA members by choosing to work with the MNA Boat Club and our WaterWatch scheme and have now extended the opportunity to all members of the MNA with an invitation for them to play a part as “Ambassadors” with a view to significantly reducing the 150 plus fatalities each year as a result of drowning, particularly on inland waterways. Steve Instance, an RNLI Community Safety Partner, says: “I am delighted to be working alongside the MNA with this initiative. We have a variety of ways of promoting our safety messages, but nothing beats a face to face conversation with a knowledgeable person. MNA members acting as RNLI Volunteer Ambassadors will be able to pass on their experience and knowledge to others in order to save more lives around our coasts and waterways.” This initiative has now been endorsed by Sir Robin Knox-Johnston who says: I am really pleased to see the Merchant Navy Association (MNA) Boat Club join forces with the RNLI to reach inland waterway users with safety messaging, helping to raise awareness of the Respect the Water campaign. MNA Boat Club members are former professional seafarers with a wealth of maritime experience and expertise so they are perfectly placed to support the RNLI’s prevention work in non-coastal waters. As a former Merchant Seaman and a Vice President of the RNLI, it’s great to see these two organisations working together to reduce accidental drowning in the UK.” Sir Robin Knox-Johnston CBE RD*
Why the MNA is supporting the RNLI?
The RNLI’s mission is to reduce accidental drowning by 50% by 2024; around 150 lives are still lost at the coast every year. Through a combination of communication, products and face-to- face interaction, the RNLI’s Community Safety Team is driving behavioural change in and around the water. These interventions are delivered at a local level by some 500 Community Safety Volunteers across the UK and Ireland. Most of these volunteers are based in coastal communities, close to RNLI lifeboat stations and lifeguarded beaches. However, two in three accidental drowning fatalities take place at inland waterways. The RNLI is collaborating with the MNA to reach these inland communities and coastal areas where they currently don’t have representation and/ or require additional support. Working in conjunction with the MNA’s Boat Club members and WaterWatch Surveillance Scheme will enable the RNLI to reach wider audiences with safety messaging and signpost water users to additional resources and support available. In doing so, the MNA will play a valuable role in helping the RNLI reduce accidental drownings by 2024. #PreventingDrowningTogether
The role
The RNLI is asking MNA Volunteer Ambassadors to promote safe practice on inland waterways and around the coast by communicating guidance to boat owners, watersports enthusiasts, marina operators, boat-hire companies, waterside pubs/ restaurants and walkers. Using your maritime skills, knowledge and experience, you will be essential ambassadors for the RNLI’s safety messaging and Respect the Water campaign. This could be through passing conversation with fellow water users, discussing the latest means of calling for help and encouraging lifejacket use to distributing leaflets and posters to operators and venues. Prior to getting out and about, the RNLI will discuss your locality with you to ensure there is no crossover with other volunteer networks. Please note : there is no requirement to deliver safety presentations; should an individual/ organisation require further advice, an RNLI Community Safety Volunteer will be available to deliver Advice Onboard sessions, Lifejacket Clinics etc. See: The RNLI – What we can do for you .
Time commitment
As much or as little as you can offer
RNLI Respect the Water campaign
Respect the Water (RTW) is the RNLI’s national drowning prevention campaign. RTW is aimed at promoting safety advice to all who visit the coast and inland waterways, from walkers to commercial fishermen. RTW aims to show those most at risk the potential dangers of water, to encourage them to reconsider their actions, and adopt safer behaviour. Since 2017, it has focused on asking the public to fight their instincts and remember two memorable skills: floating which could save lives from drowning; and to call 999 or 112 and ask for the Coastguard. The 2019 campaign launched on 30 May and ran through to the end of August with radio, cinema and print advertising and social media content.
Support and resources available
On agreeing to be an MNA Volunteer Ambassador you will receive a pack with further guidance, key safety messages and printed materials (leaflets and posters) to distribute in your agreed areas. You will also be sent a tally sheet to record conversations/ interventions to enable the RNLI to monitor reach and impact. Additional resources can be requested at any time. The links below provide additional information and downloadable resources. public facing campaign website with practical advice on how to float with stories of survivors who have followed the advice here you will find all the resources you need to support the national RTW campaign and advice on key ‘at risk’ activities (angling, boating, walking, kayaking, scuba diving, commercial fishing and walking) plus ‘How To’ videos on fitting, checking and maintaining your life jacket. Please do not share this link externally. essential safety advice so you can make the most of your time on the water additional safety advice provided by RNLI Community Safety Volunteers
MNA contact
For further information on the MNA Boat Club and its collaboration with the RNLI, please contact Clive Edwards:
MNA-RNLI Volunteer Ambassador Portrait
WaterWatch Project
Supporting the RNLI ‘Respect the Water’ Campaign
The MNA Boat Club’s WaterWatch Initiative “Eyes That Save Lives”
The forerunner of the MNA Boat Club's WaterWatch initiative was known as the "SeaVue" Scheme whereby Boat Club members acted as "watchkeepers afloat” to "Spot, Plot, Report and Record" any incidents, potential incidents or hazards whenever they took their boats out thereby acting in a very similar manner to that undertaken by the National Coastwatch Institution's (NCI) watchkeepers working ashore from their look-outs around the coast. However, the SeaVue Scheme only involved those Boat Club members who had boats thereby leaving around 50% with no part to play in the scheme. With the formation of the partnership between the MNA and the RNLI, expanding the RNLI's "Respect the Water" campaign to cover the nation's inland waterways, we launched the MNA WaterWatch initiative whereby all our members can be actively involved as watchkeepers to Spot, Plot, Report and Record incidents, potential incidents and/hazards whether afloat or ashore. In order to manage and control the extended scheme, it was decided to split the Boat Club into five regions thus: Thames (London and the south-east). Avon & Severn (the south and south-west). Wales & Mersey. Scotland & the North East Anglia. Initially, the MNA WaterWatch scheme is being trialled in the East Anglian region where the MNABC has formed a partnership with the Norfolk & Suffolk Boating Association (NSBA) which has nine hundred individual members and forty affiliated boat clubs.
MNABC/NSBA Partnership
All MNA Boat Club members are encouraged to join one (or even both) of the partnership schemes. If you live in and around the East Anglia area and would like to participate in the MNA/NSBA scheme please complete the registration form available here and email it to:
Until similar schemes are launched in the other four regions you are encouraged to join the MNA/RNLI scheme - see below.
If you wish to participate in the MNA/RNLI scheme please complete the registration form available here and email it to:
MNABC/RNLI Partnership