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Theory into practice for Walmer crew

Lifeboats News Release

Walmer RNLI volunteers join with the local Downs Sailing Club for joint exercises on how to rescue capsized yachts and dinghies.

RNLI/Christopher Winslade

At the first meeting at the sailing club last Tuesday, 3 May and under the guidance of one of the sailing club’s Royal Yachting Association’s (RYA) instructors, lifeboat volunteers and sailing club members were given instruction on the key points when rescuing a capsized vessel. These included depowering the sail, how to recover the capsize, dealing with entrapment, total inversion, where to fasten towing lines and finding ‘head to wind’. Volunteers also watched a RYA video on recovering an inverted dinghy.

They were also introduced to the two types of dinghy - the two-handed Laser and the single-handed Topper that would be used in the exercise.

On Tuesday 10 May, Walmer’s shore crew launched eight volunteers on the station’s inshore lifeboats, D Class Duggie Rodbard II and Atlantic 85 Donald McLauchlan. A further six were set afloat down the beach by sailing club members to put the theory into practice. A number of single and double-handed dinghies were also launched to help with the training. Those remaining ashore were shown the different types of dinghy used by the sailing club and methods of launch and recovery using sledges and winches.

Sailing club members carried out capsizes allowing crew to practice their recoveries and some lifeboat volunteers also went aboard the dinghies to experience the challenges of being in the water. Some lines were also fixed to allow for towing.

After the exercise, a debrief was held for both RNLI volunteers and the sailing club. Walmer helm and Lifeboat Training Co Ordinator Lee Waddon who had organised the training thanked all who had taken part and highlighted the importance of such training as it brought to light a number of issues that would need consideration in an emergency.

Notes to editors

Walmer lifeboat station was established in 1856.

It currently operates two inshore lifeboats – a B Class Atlantic 85 Donald McLauchlan and a smaller D Class Duggie Rodbard II.

Crews have received 28 Awards for Gallantry

Photo 1 Shoreside introduction at The Downs Sailing Club

Photo 2 Crew alongside capsized Laser dinghy

Photo 3 Righting a capsized dinghy using hand-over-hand method down the mast

RNLI media contacts
  • Chris Winslade, Lifeboat Press Officer, Walmer Lifeboat Station on 01304 374475 or 07906 623037 [email protected]
  • Paul Dunt, RNLI Press Officer (London/East/South East) on 07785 296252, [email protected]

  • For enquiries outside normal business hours, contact the RNLI duty press officer on 01202 336789

RNLI/Christopher Winslade

RNLI/Christopher Winslade

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.

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