£1M training fund helps Gravesend lifesaver learn vital skills

Lifeboats News Release

A volunteer crew member at Gravesend RNLI lifeboat station has had a vital part of their crew training funded by Lloyd’s Register Foundation.

Darrell on his training course seen here in the centre of the picture

RNLI/Alan Carr

Darrell on his training course seen here in the centre of the picture

Darrell Green, from Orpington, who joined the crew in 2016 recently travelled to the RNLI College in Poole, Dorset, to complete the charity’s Crew Emergency Procedures course. Darrell was inspired to join up as a volunteer crew member because he has always had an interest in the RNLI, but due to his location was unable to become a volunteer until he found out that Gravesend, along with Tower and Chiswick are all full-time stations.

This means that the crew are not required to live within 5 minutes of the station and carry a pager, but commit to a minimum of 2 x 12 hour shifts per month, where they attend the station and are on call for the duration of the shift. Darrell is a full-time firefighter and has served with the London Fire Brigade for the last 18 years.

The course sees volunteer crew being trained in a variety of crucial subjects such as how to ‘abandon ship’ with a 4m jump into water, team survival swimming, coping in a life raft in simulated darkness, how to right a capsized inshore lifeboat, and the importance of lifejackets. It also covers emergency fire theory such as how to deal with fires aboard lifeboats, and practical sessions on the correct use of flares, fire extinguishers and throw bags.

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, a charitable foundation that helps to protect life and property by supporting engineering-related education, public engagement and the application of research. The Foundation is committed to funding the RNLI’s Crew Emergency Procedures course for a second 5-year period until 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, Darrell, who volunteers as lifeboat crew, said: ‘I really enjoy being a part of the crew. I love learning new skills and assisting/ rescuing those in need. I believe that we should all if possible, give something back. Being a part of this organization and crew is rewarding and I look forward to being part of the crew for many more years.

The training provided by the RNLI College was excellent. The instructors were engaging and delivered the course confidently and with passion. They have a vast experience base and I feel lucky to have been given the opportunity to learn from them. The College is an excellent venue and I can’t wait to go back for more.’

David Knaggs, Lifesaving Delivery Training Manager at the RNLI said, ‘We are so grateful to Lloyd’s Register Foundation for choosing to fund this vital part of our volunteer crews’ training.

Their support is hugely important to us, and it’s fantastic how many of our crew have so far been able to benefit from Lloyd’s Register Foundation’s support of their training. This training is crucial in helping keep our volunteers as safe as possible whilst carrying out rescues. It gives volunteers the confidence to save lives even in the most difficult conditions.’

This donation is the latest in Lloyd’s Register 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.

Notes to Editors

  • *Lloyd’s Register Foundation donated £1M to the RNLI over 5 years from 2010–2015; and £400K over 2 years from 2008–2009, taking over the obligations of the Lloyd’s Register Educational Trust in 2013.
  • Lloyd’s Register Foundation have supported the training of over 3000 volunteer crew members for the RNLI

About Lloyd's Register Foundation

Lloyd’s Register Foundation is a charitable foundation which helps to protect life and property by supporting engineering-related education, public engagement and the application of research. www.lrfoundation.org.uk

Media Contacts:

RNLI media contacts

· Alan Carr, Gravesend RNLI Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer
07775 822584, alan_carr@rnli.org.uk

· Paul Dunt, RNLI Regional Media Officer (South East) 0207 6207416 / 07785 296252, paul_dunt@rnli.org.uk

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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Members of the public may contact the RNLI on 0300 300 9990 (UK) or 1800 991802 (Ireland) or by email.