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Sunday morning exercise at Hartlepool RNLI

Lifeboats News Release

It may be Christmas but the RNLI volunteers are still on call 24-7 and training for any eventuality.

On a freezing cold December Sunday morning most people would probably class exercise as a reluctant stroll around the local park with the dog or a drive to the shop for a Sunday paper. However, for the volunteer Hartlepool RNLI lifeboat crew members it’s an early start at the Ferry Road lifeboat station as they head out to sea at around 8.30am for a training session on the inshore lifeboat to practice what they preach which is ‘Saving Lives at Sea’.

Volunteer RNLI inshore lifeboat helm 38- year-old Ken Hay who is a maintenance technician for TESCO and has been a volunteer with the RNLI for 18 years, described a typical Sunday morning training exercise: ‘Before going to sea the first thing I have to do is fill out a training plan, taking into account the sea conditions and letting my crew know exactly what we will be doing and where we will be going.

'Once at sea we could carry out a variety of exercises that could include navigation, casualty care or working alongside our all-weather lifeboat.

'Occasionally training could be interrupted with a request by Humber Coastguard to assist someone in trouble at sea.

'A typical exercise lasts about ninety minutes then we could head back to the boathouse to hand over the boat to the next helm and his crew for a second exercise.'

Hartlepool RNLI volunteer crew members will be on-call throughout the festive season and may even be called away from their Christmas dinners to help people in difficulty at sea.

Ken added: 'Once at the boathouse a quick change out of our lifeboat kit is followed by a debrief after the exercise with my crew to discuss how things went whilst at sea and before we head home, we help clean and service the inshore lifeboat when it returns from its second exercise so that it is ready for service, then its home to the wife and family for the rest of the day, unless the pager goes off then it’s back to the boathouse and out to sea again!’

RNLI Picture caption

The photograph shows Hartlepool RNLI inshore lifeboat Solihull with volunteer crew member Ken Hay at the helm. Credit: RNLI/Tom Collins.

RNLI Media contacts

For more information please contact Tom Collins, RNLI Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer on: 07896 793557.

RNLI/Tom Collins

Hartlepool RNLI inshore lifeboat 'Solihull' with volunteer crew member Ken Hay at the helm

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