Monday, 11 December 2006

Launch request Coastguard..........

Night and day. in every kind of weather, they are ready to go to the rescue of those in 'peril on the sea'.

By far the majority of lifeboat launches are initiated by the coastguard. Upon the receipt of a 999 call they decide on what action is needed and may decide that a lifeboat is required. They consider the type of casualty, it’s geographical location and only then contact a lifeboat station and request a launch.

Each lifeboat station will have a ‘Lifeboat Operations Manager’ (known as LOM or more often, God!) who is ultimately responsible for all of the operations at the station. It is he, or in his absence, his ‘Deputy Launching Authority’ (DLA), who will initially be contacted by the Coastguard. They will discuss the situation and only upon the LOM or DLAs say so will the crew be called. In this way the LOM or DLA acts as a filter between the Coastguard and the crew, this has in the past prevented Coxswains from launching out of bravado into situations which could have meant grave danger or even certain death for their crew and boat.

Traditionally, lifeboat crews were summoned by the twin explosions of ‘Maroons’, warning flares with a loud bang. At their urgent boom men would emerge from houses in various states of undress and hurry to the boathouse. Times change and technology presents different options. Crews are now summoned by the insistent buzz of a pager strapped to their hip or laid on the bedside table. The effect is the same. The urgency is palpable as the crew tumble through the boathouse door with shouts of, ‘which boat?’, ‘where are we going?’, ‘what is it?’ and then quiet as the pin is knocked out and the boat is away into the darkness. From 999 to the boat hitting the water in under 10 minutes. Not bad for a bunch of volunteers?


Cailean Macleod said...

I've added a link to your blog from mine - thanks for the link on your blogroll. Here's to silent pagers!

lifeboatjohn said...

Here here!