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Burnham-on-Sea RNLI complete November's training exercise ‘Octopussy’

Lifeboats News Release

The volunteer crew were put through their paces on 16 November with a scenario based training exercise (mock shout) which involved rescuing casualties from Burnham's lower lighthouse as the tide enveloped it. They also had to handle a first aid incident which blocked the jetty.

The training is designed to test the skills of all the station volunteers. The Lifeboat Operations Manager (LOM) received notification that for exercise purposes reports had been received of lights being spotted on Burnham's Lower Lighthouse and he was requested to launch the lifeboats to investigate. This set in motion the lifeboat and shore crew members getting changed as quickly as possible into the necessary personal protective equipment (PPE), then marshalling traffic to enable the launch vehicles to be driven to the jetty.

The Beach Master (in charge of authorising launches at the water's edge and safety) had to deal with challenging conditions due to the high tide and waves on the jetty but a successful launch of the B class was achieved. However, due to a member of the shore crew (pretending) to fall and break their leg the D Class lifeboat Burnham Reach was unable to launch from the jetty. So with quick thinking the Beach Master despatched them to the alternate launch site at the sailing club.

The shore crew then had to deal with the first aid incident and had to use their recently refreshed first aid skills to fracture strap the casualty and get them into a stretcher to get them off the jetty.

Meanwhile the lifeboat crews had managed to get a crew member onto the lighthouse, with skilful boat handling, and on assessing the scene they discovered two cold casualties one of whom had a suspected broken leg. It was the turn for the lifeboat crews to use their first aid skills and to work out how to safely evacuate the casualties. Once all training had been complete it was time for the lifeboats to be returned to station for a full wash down and a full debrief.


Notes to editors

Image with this release

Library pictures available on request.

Lifeboats in service at Burnham-on-Sea:

A 7.5m Atlantic 75 named Staines Whitfield and a smaller 4.95m D class IB1 inflatable named Burnham Reach. The station was opened officially on 15th May 2004, but has been operational since December 2003.

RNLI media contacts

For more information about this release please telephone Helen Brodie, RNLI Volunteer Deputy Lifeboat Press Officer on 07847010084 or email

Alternatively, telephone Amy Caldwell, Media Relations Manager RNLI South- West; 07820 818807 or Emma Haines, Press Officer, on 07786 668847 or

In the absence of the above, contact RNLI Public Relations on 01202 336789

Key facts about the RNLI

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution is the charity that saves lives at sea. Our volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service in the United Kingdom and Ireland from 238 lifeboat stations, including four along the River Thames and inland lifeboat stations at Loch Ness, Lough Derg, Enniskillen, Carrybridge and Lough Ree. Additionally the RNLI has more than 1,000 lifeguards on over 240 beaches around the UK and operates a specialist flood rescue team, which can respond anywhere across the UK and Ireland when inland flooding puts lives at risk.

The RNLI relies on public donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. As a charity it is separate from, but works alongside, government-controlled and funded coastguard services. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824 our lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved at least 140,000 lives. Volunteers make up 95% of the charity, including 4,600 volunteer lifeboat crew members and 3,000 volunteer shore crew. Additionally, tens of thousands of other dedicated volunteers raise funds and awareness, give safety advice, and help in our museums, shops and offices.

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