‘Preventing loss of life in the world’s waters’: a shared aim on the International Maritime Rescue Federation exchange.
The IMRF organises each year an exchange programme for lifeboat crew from several European maritime sea rescue institutions including the RNLI.
The chief goal of this exchange is for volunteers to learn from each other and to share knowledge. They come together for a week and are exposed to different training methods, ideas and cultures. One of the aims is to help develop areas of consistency between lifeboat services and thus prevent the loss of life in the world’s waters. In 2018, sixty-nine people have taken part drawn from twelve countries and hosted by ten different organisations.
Tony Peters, Rye Harbour RNLI helm, embarked upon this exchange in Portugal in September 2018. He collaborated and trained with representatives from Sweden, Norway, Finland and Denmark. ‘The week was intensive and action-packed,’ Tony recalls, ‘and although it was extremely busy it gave us time to reflect on how we could learn from and implement the new things we had experienced. Wherever we went we were greeted with such warm hospitality. At Ericerra Lifeboat station it was interesting to see how they employed the Jetbike rather than their boats to attend shouts because of the cliff formation and seas in that area.
Possibly the most challenging training was the Sea Survival Training Day because it was so physical but I found it energising. The technique we were taught when recovering people from the water, by taking hold of wrists and not the underarm method used in the UK, so impressed me that I am hoping to incorporate it in training back at Rye Harbour with my Operations Manager’s blessing. The Crew Exchange provided the perfect platform for all of us to experience simulated Search and Rescue exercises, to recount our personal experiences of our own rescue stations and learn new techniques and skills as part of the IMRF family.’
Indeed the word exchange is a valid one because not only did Tony learn from his colleagues: he too was able to share and demonstrate some of the codes of practice that the RNLI teach to such a high standard in the UK.
Image Credits: IMRF .