Success at RNLI lifeboat headquarters for four Rhyl trainee crew members
£1M fund helps local volunteer learn lifesaving skills
Four new volunteer crew members at Rhyl RNLI lifeboat station have had a vital part of their crew training funded by Lloyd’s Register Foundation.
Kevin Taggart, Andrew Keenan,Ben Hirst and Mathew Baines, recently travelled to the RNLI College in Poole, Dorset, to complete the charity’s Trainee Crew Course.
A key part of the course is the sea survival element, which enables new volunteer crew to be trained in a variety of crucial subjects including how to ‘abandon ship’ with a 4m jump into water; team survival swimming and coping in a liferaft in simulated darkness; how to deal with fires aboard lifeboats; how to right a capsized inshore lifeboat; and the importance of lifejackets.
Training took place in the Sea Survival Centre at the charity’s college, which includes a 25m wave-generating survival tank, allowing trainees to experience first-hand some of the scenarios they may encounter at sea should they ever need to abandon their lifeboat.
The training was funded by Lloyd’s Register Foundation (LR Foundation), a UK registered charity that connects science, safety and society by supporting quality research and promoting skills and education. The Foundation is funding the Sea Survival element of RNLI’s Trainee Crew Courses for a further 5 year period from January 2016 to December 2020. This additional funding of £1.06M will bring their total support for RNLI crew training to just over £2.46M*.
Talking about the training, Ben Hirst, who volunteers as a crew member on both the all-weather and inshore lifeboats, said: ‘We found this course to be an important and valuable grounding for our future roles helping saving lives at sea.’
Darrel Crowther, Lifeboat operations Manager at Rhyl said: ‘The support given by LR Foundation is hugely important to the RNLI. We are extremely grateful that the Foundation has chosen to continue to fund sea survival training, which teaches vital core skills to our volunteer crew.
‘This training is vital to help keep volunteers as safe as possible while on rescue missions. It equips volunteers with essential sea survival skills; providing them with the courage, poise and self-confidence to save lives even in the most perilous seas.’
This donation is just the latest in LR Foundation’s relationship with the RNLI, which was recognised in 2010 when it received the Group Supporter Award from HRH Prince Michael of Kent in recognition of its valuable support of the charity.
Ben, who came third in the "Britain's strongest man" competition, had to have a bespoke set of kit made, including a dry suit which helps to protect crews at sea. Coxswain Martin Jones at Rhyl said "We are glad that Ben has joined the crew. He comes in very handy with that extra power when we are required to move heavy items!"
The four crew will now be further trained on station and will soon take up their roles as valued crew members at North Wales' consistently busiest RNLI lifeboat station.
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.