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Kingston’s riverside businesses take proactive steps to ensure an amazing summer season for visitors

More than 15 riverside businesses have received special water rescue training from the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) as part of a collaboration with Kingston First.

Visitors heading to Kingston upon Thames’ picturesque riverside during the day, or enjoying the town’s vibrant waterfront in the evening, can be confident they are in safe hands after more than a dozen local businesses received river rescue training and new equipment last week. 

In a proactive effort to enhance safety and the rescue readiness of waterfront venues and retailers, Kingston First, the town’s Business Improvement District, which represents and supports local businesses, has teamed up with the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) to provide essential throw line training. 

Kirsten Henly, Chief Executive of Kingston First said: “We’re so fortunate in Kingston to have an amazing and vibrant riverside space, especially during the summer months. 

“We want everyone to have the best possible experience when they visit Kingston and by teaming up with the RNLI, the absolute experts in water rescue, we’re empowering our riverside businesses with both the skills and equipment to be able to respond immediately should an incident occur on the river.”

Over two evenings, teams from restaurants, bars and retailers spanning Kingston’s
popular riverside learnt vital skills and knowledge to be able to effectively respond to potential water-related emergencies. 

The stretch of water through Kingston is a popular spot for canoeing, sailing, paddle boarding and hire boats. And in the heat of summer is a prime place for visitors looking for somewhere to cool-off.

As part of the training, participants were given the chance to test their new-found skills by throwing lines to two RNLI volunteers, from the charity’s base at Teddington Marina, who were in the water to simulate people in need of rescuing.

Ashley, from Haché Brasserie on Kingston’s Riverside, who received the training, said: “It was a lot of fun and having the chance to practise throwing the line to a real person means I now feel, if there was an incident, I would have the confidence to know what to do.”

During the training a small crowd of onlookers gathered to watch the simulated rescues. Ishfaq Khan, from Surbiton, was among those who stopped to observe. He said: “It’s an amazing initiative to train the riverside businesses like this. I walk along the riverside a lot and it’s really great to see this happening”.   

Guy Addington, Regional Water Safety Lead for the RNLI said: “Although our lifeboats are always ready to launch, we know that sharing our knowledge of water rescue with committed ambassadors like the staff from these local businesses can save lives because an immediate response can keep someone afloat until our volunteers reach them. We’re delighted that Kingston First has recognised the value and joined us to help prevent drowning.”

The river rescue training is the latest in a series of preparedness training from Kingston First for local businesses designed to fulfil its commitment to supporting its members and ensuring visitors to the town have the best possible time. 

Other recent courses attended by local businesses included first aid, fire safety and counter-terrorism.