End of season exercise is a historic occasion for Barry Dock RNLI community

Lifeboats News Release

Barry Dock RNLI community came together for a training exercise. A multi-agency exercise to mark the end of the RNLI lifeguarding season was made even more significant, as it was last time the RNLI volunteer crew at Barry Dock launched on exercise from their current lifeboat station.

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RNLI Lifeguards, Barry Dock RNLI D class and Trent class

Today (12 September) the volunteer crew will move into a new purpose-built facility shared with Association of British Ports (ABP) located at the Pier Head at Barry Dock Harbour. The RNLI will move from the nearby current lifeboat station facility which has been home to Barry RNLI for 30 years. The station’s Trent class all-weather lifeboat and D class inshore lifeboat will continue to launch from their berth at Barry Harbour to save lives at sea.

Work on the new station began in 2022, and the new boathouse is a realisation of a dream for the volunteer crew. They will now have a modern new facility including a dedicated crew changing and showering facility, workshop for maintenance and rectification. The new base is home to a separate crew room and training facility, capable of holding medium events, welfare facilities and private office space.

Last week’s multi-agency exercise was held to mark the end of an important era and reflect on a season of excellent collaboration between lifesaving agencies. Throughout the summer, the Barry RNLI have worked jointly with Barry Coastguard Rescue Team and Coastwatch Nells Point to ensure incidents have been dealt effectively during a busy summer.

Last week’s exercise was stepped in significance as the volunteers donned their kit from the building which has been home since it was built in 1985.

Barry Dock all-weather lifeboat, inshore lifeboat, RNLI lifeguards on a Rescue Water Craft, Surf Lifesavers, volunteers from water safety, fundraising and the visitor centre as well as Barry Coastguard Rescue Team all came together for the training exercise.

The team also reflected on the success of the first summer of RNLI lifeguards operating a Rescue Water Craft (RWC) to support the prevention efforts of water safety at Whitmore Bay as well as providing a rapid rescue response.

Barry Dock RNLI lifeboat Coxswain Andy Gavan described the evening as a ‘moment of magic’ as a unique image of the all-weather lifeboat, inshore lifeboat, lifeguards on rescue boards and on the rescue watercraft were captured all together in one shot alongside the Coastguard team.

Andy says:

‘The whole Barry Dock lifesaving community come together during this historic moment. We had an opportunity to take some of the lifeguards afloat to help them understand more about how we operated but also to thank them for their commitment, dedication, and hard work at Whitmore Bay over the summer. The whole Barry Dock lifesaving community together which was quite a sight, especially with it being the last time we launched on exercise out of our current station.

‘Barry Dock Lifeboat Station continues to evolve since its first lifeboat house and lifeboat began operating out of Barry Harbour from 1901, 122 years later our volunteer crew continue to save lives at sea with selflessness, courage, dependability and trustworthiness.’

Matt Childs Lead Lifeguard Supervisor for Bridgend and the Vale of Glamorgan said:

‘RNLI lifeguards work closely with Barry Dock lifeboat, the volunteers at the RNLI Visitor Centre and the Barry Coastguard team, so this was a fantastic opportunity to capture the team together on a beautiful evening.

‘The exercise was really useful for our lifeguards to find out more about the work of RNLI volunteers, it also gave us a good opportunity to reflect on the success of having the Rescue Water Craft at Whitmore Bay has proven to be a great asset this season and an integral part of our service. It has given the lifeguards the ability to work in a far more preventative way, especially in the more dangerous areas of the water, close to Nells and Friars Point.

‘We enjoy a great relationship with the crew at Barry Dock and wish them all the very best with the move into their new home.’

Notes to editors

Interviews are available on request.

Media Contacts

For more information please contact Anya Walton Media Engagement Placement on 07890066217 or [email protected] or contact Danielle Rush Regional Media Manager on 07786668829 or [email protected]. Alternatively please contact the RNLI Press Office on 01202336789 or [email protected].

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RNLI Lifeguards, Barry Dock RNLI D class and Trent class

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Barry Coastguard and Barry Dock RNLI visitor centre volunteers

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RNLI Lifeguard rescue water craft, Barry Dock RNLI D class and Trent class

RNLI/Kevin Lake

RNLI Lifeguards with rescue boards

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RNLI Lifeguards, Barry Dock RNLI D class and Trent class

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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