Saturday, 9 December 2006

Our Patch

Weymouth and us, originally uploaded by lifeboatjohn.

Lifeboats operate within roughly defined areas, known as patches. The Lifeboat Stations to either side of a patch are known as 'Flank' stations, ours are Weymouth to the west and Poole and to some extent Mudeford in the East.

Looking to the West, the boundary of our patch is somewhere near Kimmeridge. This is the point where Weymouth's Severn and our Mersey class lifeboats would meet if we set off from our stations at the same time; their patch is slightly larger than ours as they have a faster boat.

As lifeboats are normally tasked by the Coastguard, it is of absolute importance that they understand the capabilities of all of the crews and lifeboats within their area. For example, in a complex search involving several boats it would not be uncommon for us to be tasked to conduct the close inshore search (as we have a shallower draft) and for Weymouth's Severn to be tasked further off shore as they have more height from which to search.

Teamwork is crucial. Each boat in it's patch links with the next and together, form an unbroken chain around our charmed Isle.

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