Local primary school children attend workshops at the Dart RNLI visitor centre.
Thursday 17 October was the day for Key stage II children from local primary schools to attend various workshops in Dartmouth, arranged by the Dartmouth Food Festival.
For the first time the RNLI were invited to teach the children about staying safe by the water and 79 children in eight groups were seen at the RNLI Visitor Centre.
The aim was to teach the children the RNLI’s four key safety messages when on or near the water.
“In an emergency dial 999 and ask for the coastguard” The lifeboat crew were called out after a 999 call and stayed in constant touch with the coastguard as the rescue unfolded. Three children acted the parts of the Lifeboat Crew in the D class lifeboat as helm, radio operator and lookout.
“Float if you fall in the water unexpectedly” The shore crew have to be careful not to fall off the slipway when launching the boat. If you do, float until you get your breath back.
Two children acted as the Shore Crew; tractor driver and traffic controller.
“Stop and think” The lifeguard group had to decide which flags to put up for the swimmers. Is it safe? Where are the dangers?
The role of the RNLI lifeguards was taken by three more children, complete with flags and dressing up clothes.
“Stay together” It was vital for the two children trapped by the tide to stay together and to support each other.
The remaining two children acted out the scenario and had ‘gone exploring and become trapped by the tide’.
All the children thoroughly enjoyed themselves and many planned to return and to use the dressing up clothes whilst their parents had a browse around the RNLI shop. The RNLI Visitor Centre is on the South Embankment between Rockfish and the Dartmouth Hospital.
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.