RNLI and coastguards collaborate

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RNLI Rye Harbour is committed to delivering the best outcomes when saving lives at sea and to achieve this requires teamwork, not just within the lifeboat station but by co-operating and working with all the major agencies which attend shouts alongside lifeboat crew.

A programme of mutual training and understanding the different equipment used has been implemented at the Rye Harbour station. Tony Peters, helm, has been responsible for organising training sessions with the Rye Bay Coastguard team. On Sunday February 10 the coastguardes visited the station and Tony talked them through the life-saving equipment which is used so that there could be discussions about the variations between the two agencies.

David Dunlop, Station Officer for Rye Bay Coastguards, commented at the end of the morning’s training: “A really useful combined training session preparing both teams to work together in an operational session.”

Drive on/off trailer being hosed down after recovering the lifeboat

Tony Peters, using actual equipment, talked the coastguards through how the RNLI operates at the station and on the boat, an Atlantic 85. The RNLI uses check cards which are a vital part of any scenario and these are employed by two crew members so that one can work on the casualty whilst the other records the observations on the cards. Joseph Brown, lifeboat crew, demonstrated the stretcher which is attached to the A frame of the lifeboat. Wayne Blackman from the coastguards was a willing volunteer and the exercise enabled both teams to see how the stretcher is used.

George Clark, a new volunteer recruit observed: “This was the most useful aspect of today’s training because we were instructed on how the colour-coded straps work. It is a clever feature as it makes for easy identification of which strap to use and where. It helped the new recruits to re-focus upon skills already learned and made us feel more confident should we need to use the stretcher on a shout.”

Whilst the training was taking place upstairs general maintenance was being carried out downstairs on the station’s tractor. Paul Anderson, a busy long-distance removal man, makes time each week to ensure that the tractor is fully maintained. This involves checking tyre pressure, that the lights are fully functional, and that the parts that require it are greased and cleaned. Once washed down and whilst still wet a fine mist of oil is sprayed on to surfaces to protect the tractor from the salt in the sea water when launching. When the boat goes out on a shout or for training the shore crew take the opportunity also to maintain the DO-DO (Drive On-Drive Off) trailer which also needs cleaning and spaying with a fine coating of oil for protection.

To maintain high standards of maintenance, training and equipment there are many, many hours spent each week by the dedicated volunteers at the station enabling them to be ready at any time of the night or day to save lives at sea. It is important to remember that behind every boat launch lies sustained effort and dedication.

Image Credits: kt Bruce .

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