Poole Lifeboat Open day (Sunday August 5) was a resounding success, the sun shone, and the crowds kept coming to experience first-hand the work that the busy lifeboat station and crew at Poole do.
Then, just after a demonstration as the crew were re-housing the equipment, the lifeboat launched in earnest.
The helm had heard communications over the radio from the Sandbanks Chain Ferry to Harbour Control reporting their concerns for an overturned kayaker at the Harbour entrance.
With authorisation from the Lifeboat Operations Manager the lifeboat launched for real at 1.15, it was on- scene shortly after.
The lifeboat crews found the person he was still in the water, but being towed by a passing double kayak towards Shell Bay. They located, the person near the rocky shore at the Chain Ferry so the safest option was to pull the casualty on-board along with his kayak.
Unharmed by the event the person and his kayak were taken to the beach at Shell Bay.
The Lifeboat then returned back to the very busy Open Day.
Volunteer Helm Dave Riley said;
'It’s not usual for us to have a call on our annual Open Day for real and It gives the crowds an opportunity to see a launch in action. The harbour entrance was extremely busy, with passing vessels, funnelling in and out, creating a lot of wash, not an ideal place to be capsized’.
And with the boat gone there was still plenty for the crowds to do and see, they had the opportunity to tour the new floating lifeboat house and climb aboard relief lifeboats that were alongside. There was side stalls and an amazing puppet show, ‘The Beach Buddies’ it was a great hit, based on the set up like a traditional Punch and Judy, the beach buddies shared key safety messages with the youngsters, helping them to stay safe, when they go to the beach. The puppeteers had travelled all the way from Portishead where the RNLI’s newest lifeboat station is based, all at Poole lifeboat station are very grateful for their support and the unique way of sharing important messages.
Poole lifeboat volunteer Anne Marie Clark said;
‘It was another successful day, a lot of hard work was put in behind the scenes by the Open day planning team and it was staggering, the army of lifeboat friends, family and volunteers who turned up in force on the day to help us. It was also great to welcome our rescue partners from Poole Coastguard, the Fire and rescue crew, marine police and community RNLI sea safety team. Finally a massive thank you has to be acknowledged to all the businesses and people with huge hearts that supported by donating prizes, and by coming along today to support us, it really was heartening, interacting with such lovely people. The money raised is still being counted, but it will all go to help us, to save lives at sea ’.
There was another special ‘old friend’ who returned to the station today,’ The Watchman’ who has been on a sabbatical , he is the lifeboat station gnome , but he’s more than a gnome.
He appeared at Poole Lifeboat station many years ago an old crewman Ray Collins acquired him and he has been a talisman for the Poole crews throughout the years. He has been rescued himself a couple of times, once he disappeared after it was thought a boat had knocked his post and Helm Dave Coles dived down and found him in the mud, Steve Axtell also rescued him in more recent years as he got knocked off by a wave as a passing boat rocked the Old lifeboat house, the pigpen as it was fondly known, Steve dived down and brought him back to the surface. However, he will now be safely entrenched as Elite Fabrication and Welding Ltd have kindly designed and donated his bespoke mounting bracket and Helm Jonathan Clark gave him a fresh lick of paint, so he will be watching over the boats for a few more years to come.
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.
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Contacting the RNLI - public enquiries
Members of the public may contact the RNLI on 0300 300 9990 (UK) or 1800 991802 (Ireland) or by email.