Million-pound training fund helps local lifesaver learn vital skills

Lifeboats News Release

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

Gavin Roach on board Invergordon's All-weather Trent Class Lifeboat

RNLI/Michael MacDonald

Gavin Roach on board Invergordon's All-weather Trent Class Lifeboat

Gavin Roach, 46, from RNLI Invergordon, recently travelled to the RNLI College in Poole, Dorset, to complete the charity’s Crew Emergency Procedures course. Gavin was inspired to join up as a volunteer crew member for the charity as he grew up on Morecambe Bay, where the tide comes in faster than you can run and the quicksands are everywhere. You were always taught to be respectful of the place, but the 2004 disaster, when twenty three Chinese cockle pickers drowned after misjudging the tide – that really hit home. Gavin moved away a few years before, but could feel the shock in the community when he went back to visit. So I started making regular donations to the RNLI, but I was never in a position to do much more. Then when I got a new job right next to the station, it seemed crazy to be sitting thirty yards from the crew room and not to volunteer to help

The course sees volunteer crew being trained in a variety of crucial subjects such as how to deal with fires aboard lifeboats, how to ‘abandon ship’ in the event of an emergency (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 includes sessions on the correct use of flares, fire extinguishers and throw bags.

Talking about the training, Gavin who volunteers as a Crew Member, said: ‘I really enjoyed the opportunity to meet crew from other RNLI stations while learning essential safety and survival skills. “Trainees who’d previously had commercial sea survival training came away singing the praises of this course, and the facilities at the College have to be seen to be believed – they’re absolutely fantastic, purpose-built to provide a safe but challenging training environment. Whether it’s a theory session in the classroom or enduring a storm in the wave pool at the Sea Survival Centre, you feel you’re in excellent hands, and talking to volunteers from other boats gives you a real sense of your part in the bigger picture”.

Gavin's training took place in the Sea Survival Centre at the RNLI College, where he was joined by other RNLI volunteer crew members from around the UK and Ireland.

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 has 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 brings their total support for RNLI crew training to just over £2.46M* since 2008. More than 3,000 RNLI volunteer crew members have now received the training thanks to Lloyd’s Register Foundation’s funding.

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

‘Their support is very important to us and it’s fantastic how, so far, over 3,000 of our crew members have benefited from Lloyd’s Register Foundation funding this part of their training. As only one in ten of our volunteer crew members comes from a professional maritime background, the Crew Emergency Procedures course is crucial in giving our volunteers the training they need and helping keep them as safe as possible while carrying out rescues. It gives volunteers the confidence to save lives even in the most challenging 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 funded £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.

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.

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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 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and 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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