RNLI Longhope Lifeboat volunteer crewmember successfully completes training.
Congratulations to Steve Rhodes who is the latest volunteer crewmember with RNLI Longhope Lifeboat to have successfully completed the Trainee Crew Course at RNLI College in Poole, Dorset.
Part of the course takes place in the Sea Survival Centre, a facility within the college, where real-life conditions and rescue operations are simulated to give the lifeboat volunteers essential practical experience in sea safety and survival techniques. Steve continued: 'I must admit that the thought of this part of the course took me out of my comfort zone but after completing the exceptionally good theory module beforehand my level of confidence improved considerably. Then when it came to being in the water and actually doing and practising those vital survival skills I found was an excellent experience. It is so very important to have an idea of what we could face should the occasion ever arrive. For example, if your RIB capsizes and the engine fills with water what is the procedure to get it running again.'
At RNLI Longhope we have a Tamar class all-weather lifeboat but Steve also had to experience training on the inflatable D class inshore lifeboat. This craft is highly manoeuvrable and usually operates closer to shore than all-weather lifeboats and is specifically suited to surf, shallow water and confined locations. Steve explained: ' It was real eye-opener to experience these inflatables as it was for the crew from these, to experience an all-weather lifeboat. We now appreciate what other lifeboats can do and the conditions and challenges they face. I think we built up a deep respect for each other.'
All the other trainee crewmembers on my course were a great bunch of people and the support and teamwork experienced with them was fantastic. It was also interesting to engage with the Lifeguards that we met who were also undergoing training and to appreciate and understand the challenges they face. In the end we all have the same aim, to save lives at sea. The instructors at Poole and the qualified crewmembers back home all help make this possible for new recruits like myself. I can't thank them enough.'
Key facts about the RNLI
The RNLI charity saves lives at sea. Its volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service around the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland coasts. The RNLI operates over 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and, in a normal year, more than 240 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK and Channel Islands. The RNLI is independent of Coastguard and government and depends on voluntary donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824, its lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved over 142,700 lives.