‘Preventing loss of life in the world’s waters’:shared aim on the IMRF exchange
The International Maritime Rescue Federation (IMRF) organises each year an exchange programme for lifeboat crew from several European maritime sea rescue institutions including the RNLI.
The chief goal of this exchange is for volunteers to learn from each other and to share knowledge. They come together for a week and are exposed to different training methods, ideas and cultures. One of the aims is to help develop areas of consistency between lifeboat services and thus prevent the loss of life in the world’s waters. In 2018, sixty-nine people have taken part drawn from twelve countries and hosted by ten different organisations.
Tony Peters, Rye Harbour RNLI helm, embarked upon this exchange in September 2018. He collaborated and trained with representatives from Sweden, Norway, Finland and Denmark. ‘The week was intensive and action-packed,’ Tony recalls, ‘and although it was extremely busy it gave us time to reflect on how we could learn from and implement the new things we had experienced. Wherever we went we were greeted with such warm hospitality. At Ericeira Lifeboat station it was interesting to see how they employed the rescue water craft (similar to a Jetski)rather than their boats to attend shouts because of the cliff formation and seas in that area. Possibly the most challenging training was the Sea Survival Training Day because it was so physical but I found it energising. The technique we were taught when recovering people from the water, by taking hold of wrists and not the underarm method used in the UK, so impressed me that I am hoping to incorporate it in training back at Rye Harbour with my Operations Manager’s blessing. The Crew Exchange provided the perfect platform for all of us to experience simulated Search and Rescue exercises, to recount our personal experiences of our own rescue stations and learn new techniques and skills as part of the IMRF family.’
Indeed the word exchange is a valid one because not only did Tony learn from his colleagues: he too was able to share and demonstrate some of the codes of practice that the RNLI teach to such a high standard in the UK.
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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 237 lifeboat stations, including four along the River Thames and inland lifeboat stations at Loch Ness, Lough Derg, Enniskillen and Lough Ree. Additionally the RNLI has more than 1,000 lifeguards on over 180 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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Contacting the RNLI - public enquiries
Members of the public may contact the RNLI on 0300 300 9990 or by email.
The RNLI is a charity registered in England and Wales (209603) and Scotland (SC037736). Charity number 20003326 in the Republic of Ireland.
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.