Berwick-upon-Tweed volunteer RNLI lifeboat crew training
Berwick–upon-Tweed RNLI is turning volunteers into lifesavers through lifeboat training.
The volunteer lifesavers at Berwick-upon-Tweed give their time for free and are prepared to drop everything and risk their lives to save others at a moment's notice.
The RNLI provides a 24-hour rescue service in the UK and Ireland.The charity's seasonal lifeguards also look after people on busy beaches and the Flood Rescue Team helps those affected by flooding.
Their lifesaving work is essential, often difficult and sometimes dangerous. And with only 1 in 10 volunteers joining the RNLI from a professional maritime occupation, training is especially important..
With public support the RNLI provide its crew members with first-class training, equipment, guidance and support.
The lifeboat crews train together every week on a Wednesday at Berwick lifeboat station, at sea and ashore.
Training exercises focus on teamwork, technical competence and safe operating procedures covering everything from boat handling, search and rescue, and navigation, to radar training, radio communications and casualty care.
Crews also practice rescue scenarios involving other emergency services such as the HM Coastguard and fire and rescue services.
Every crew member follows a structured programme of competence-based training and assessment. This covers an agreed range of skills and competencies necessary to complete particular tasks. They also undertake operational training, designed to help them meet required fitness standards.
Crew training is a continuous process and the learning never stops.
Each trainee crew member follows a crew development plan in which they learn the roles and responsibilities at the lifeboat station. They learn how to use and look after their personal protective equipment, the layout of their station’s lifeboat and how to use the equipment on board and work with ropes safely.
After six months of regular training, and getting to know and work with the crew, trainees may, depending on their progress, attend the Trainee Crew course at the RNLI College in Poole, Dorset.
Training one crew member costs £1,527, so each person joining the RNLI must show a strong commitment.
Recently crew members Claire Mabon and Christie Avril, having showed their commitment to the RNLI, went for further training at Poole.
Claire said: ‘I had the pleasure of attending my Emergency Procedures course at Poole, I was privileged to attend this course and I enjoyed it very much. The training facilities were amazing as were the trainers. I found the training beneficial and very informative. Thanks to the people who donate to the RNLI I am now more able and equipped in being able to go out on our water ways and out to sea to save lives.'
Christie, who serves along with her father who has just been awarded his 30 year service medal said: ‘My dad often told me how good the training was at Poole, but I could never have experienced how good it was if I never had joined the institute . The college has excellent training facilities which helped aid us in training and learn the skills you need to save lives. You meet fellow like volunteers and are able to share experiences. Having gone through this training means I now can answer the call as a volunteer to help rescue people in difficulties at sea. Hopefully I can match my Dad in commitment of service to the RNLI.'
After completing their 12 month probationary period and assessments, the trainees will become fully fledged crew members. Crew training continues at the station supported by specialist courses run by trainers at RNLI College or via mobile training units.
RNLI lifesavers, enable millions of people every year to enjoy the sea, beaches and waterways, knowing they are safe. But the water remains an unpredictable environment that can catch people out. People will always need the help of the RNLI and – thanks to its supporters' generous donations, the RNLI as a charity can continue to be there to answer that call.
RNLI Media contacts
For more information please contact Hazel Bettison, RNLI Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer on: 07944 757578.
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 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.