Double first today at RNLI Rye Harbour
On April 1 RNLI Rye Harbour was tasked at 4.05 pm by the Solent Coastguard to assist an 8 metre yacht in difficulties at Rock Channel. There was concern that she would tip over and the owner had called for help.
Stuart Clark commented: ’It was a fantastic privilege to helm my first shout, even though because it was the first of April I seriously thought someone was pulling my leg when the pagers went off. It was a relatively simple tasking, helping a grounded yacht in the river to re-float and tow her back to her mooring after engine failure. It was made more complicated by a quickly ebbing tide and blustery winds with a mixed concern over skill fade which brought our task into sharp focus. However, I needn’t have worried, as both shore and boat crews’ continued commitment to training, online through lockdown, and in recent weeks face-to-face and afloat in ‘bubbles’, meant that everything kicked in at the right time and crews worked as one to accomplish a successful outcome. I was very proud of everyone involved.’
This was Stuart’s first shout as helm and for Tim Dickinson, who drove the tractor, it was his first shout as the operator.
Rye Harbour has a fantastic record of continued training throughout lockdown. When it was not possible to be at the boathouse, crew members were all studying at home and buddying up virtually with crew members to test each other’s knowledge. RNLI Hastings and Port Talbot have also been virtually training on ‘Teams’ every Wednesday to keep skills sharp and to share knowledge and best practice. There is certainly a wonderful buzz at Rye Harbour at the moment. Volunteers have embraced the restrictions of lockdown and made them work to their advantage.
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.