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Crew advancement at Lytham St Annes RNLI

Lifeboats News Release

The volunteer crew of Lytham St Annes lifeboats have had a busy Spring training to further advance their expertise.

Donald Hyde, Tim Edwards and Ben McGarry with the Inshore Lifeboat

RNLI/David Forshaw

Crew training at Lytham

When the word Lifeboat is used most people have a vision of a classic blue and orange boat ploughing through heavy surf on its way to rescue someone about to be engulfed by the waves. However, before that can happen a lot of time has to be spent giving the crew the training they need to be able to operate the boat safely in the worst of conditions.

The initial training concentrates on who does what at the station. At Lytham St. Annes there are around 40 volunteers required to keep the two lifeboats running and initially it can be daunting trying to remember people and their roles.

The next stage is safety and the equipment each person will need to use – the classic example being the lifejacket. This step by step training provides a logical sequence that can eventually lead right through to training to be a Coxswain.

Each stage is checked by an independent assessor to ensure the crew member can demonstrate his knowledge of that set of skills. That may be afloat or in the boathouse over a cup of coffee.

To get one person trained is not a simple matter and it often requires that the whole team might be needed. If someone wants to be competent in electronic navigation it means the lifeboat needs to go to sea. A full crew need to found, and a team have to be assembled to launch and recover. Finally the boat and launching equipment will need washing down and refuelling after. As ever, the necessary paperwork has to be done

During the spring the Lytham St Annes crew made a special effort to advance their skill sets. This has resulted in a new Mechanic and two new Helms. Kerrith Black has now become the latest enrolled mechanic. That gives him the very responsible role of stepping in and operating the lifeboat machinery when the full time mechanic is unavailable.

Ben McGarry and David Hillier were passed out as Helms for the inshore lifeboat – that is the equivalent of the Coxswain aboard the All-weather Mersey class Lifeboat.

Pete Whalley, the Lifeboat Operations Manager, said: 'Congratulations must go to all three for the efforts they have made to achieve these positions. They have spent many hours in training and have demonstrated their professional expertise to quite demanding RNLI assessors. What must also be borne in mind is the hours the other crew and launchers have given up to get them to this point. Finally the families and friends of the crew should not be forgotten. They too have had to make sacrifices while this has been happening. They all deserve a big "Thank You’”.'

RNLI Media contacts

For more information please contact Pete Whalley, RNLI Deputy Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer on: 07872 026395.

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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The RNLI is a charity registered in England and Wales (209603) and Scotland (SC037736). Charity number 20003326 in the Republic of Ireland