Monday, 29 October 2007

Retard Clocks

This phrase always used to make me laugh in my Naval days. There's no doubt though it is an annual milestone. Somehow the days seem a bit bleaker and less colourful once the clocks have gone back. It certainly means that our exercise this Wednesday will be a dingy affair. Ho-Hum.

Friday, 26 October 2007

Wisdom squared

Behind every operational Lifeboat station is a team of willing volunteers who tirelessly work to keep everything going. Perhaps the two most significant are the Chairman and the Lifeboat Operations Manager:Robin Tiller is our Chairman. He has filled this role for some years now and has been a steadying hand on the helm. His is the thankless task of replying to letters and smoothing the way for events like lifeboat week. By day he is an estate agent but one should not hold this against him. Despite this handicap he still manages to display supreme integrity and work selflessly for the cause.I have mentioned Neil Hardy before. He is the ultimate figure of authority to the crew......our Lifeboat Operations Manager. It is his responsibility to tame the beast that is the crew. For this he earns my unswerving respect.

Without people like these two the lifeboat service would simply fail to function. Thank you!

Monday, 22 October 2007

Right time right place

I chose not to take part in yesterday's exercise as my wife Liz was away and I was trying to look after the kids and pack for a trip to Scotland. Half way through the exercise my pager went off. In this situation there is Little point responding as the boats are either at sea or at least fully crewed so I continued packing. And that's tough. To know that the boat is out there but not to know what it happening.

As it turns out a climber had fallen on the cliffs again and was suffering from a suspected spinal injury and various abrasions. 2 crew, Jon and Steve were put ashore in the 'x' boat followed soon after by Kev from the ILB and the casualty was stabilised and prepared for a lift into the waiting Coastguard Rescue Helicopter. Apparently conditions were tricky as in this particular location there are many large boulders at the base of the cliff making access awkward. As normal the casualty was whisked away to Dorchester hospital in 'Victor Alpha' and we will likely as not hear nothing further of them. Our thoughts are with the casualty and we are hoping for a speedy recovery.

Friday, 19 October 2007

Party time!

The next major event on the horizon (apart from the annual excitement of our AGM next month) will be our Christmas party (remember the photos from last year?) Well, change of location this year and perhaps a change of theme too. One option was black-tie but it was felt this would be too much of a challenge for some of our crew and guests so we are actively seeking the crew's opinion. One suggestion was a Bond theme.........perhaps the elusive Wenley would care to join us? Anyway.........look out for photos in due course!

Pointing the way

Quite a lot of the training that we do happens because experienced members of the crew spend time with less experienced crewmembers on exercise and talk them through things. Being a teacher this is something that I particularly enjoy. I enjoy taking seemingly complex tasks and breaking them down into simple steps and getting that information across to someone else. And the funny thing is, this is often the best way to learn, having a peer as instructor is often (in my experience) much more successful than having a 'proper' instructor. Perhaps it's just a matter of learning styles?

Anyway, here I am pointing something out to Chad. As ever he is being kind enough to humour me and pretend to be interested!

Wednesday, 17 October 2007


I've mentioned before that old lifeboats are disposed of at the end of their life and often find their way into private ownership. We've just received a bulletin from headquarters offering for sale a number of 'x' & 'y' boats for sale. Basically these are small inflatable craft which are carried upon larger All Weather Lifeboats to enable access to rocky shores and perform transfers between larger vessels. These are all made by Avon and seem good value but not a bargain. It strikes me that the RNLI disposals team is very aware of what they are worth and are keen to maximise the return......perhaps they keep a close eye on eBay prices?

Tuesday, 16 October 2007

Full to the brim.

Well. I had it pointed out yesterday that my blogging has become somewhat intermitent recently.........indeed none existent might be more accurate! I guess in a sense I feel like I have started to run out of things to say at about the same time as running out of time to say them in. I now have a new teaching job which seems to make rather more demands on my time. And that's a good thing. However. I am going to try and find a way to keep things going.

Do keep checking.

Thursday, 4 October 2007

Rubber ball

It's funny how some things keep coming back to you.

During August I wrote a blog entry about a shout where we were first off told to wait for the police to come with us then told to go without them because they had not done a sea survival course. I'd quite forgotten about this but was reminded when a piece appeared in the Sunday Telegraph last weekend and the Telegraph this morning. The journalist in question had thankfully made the effort to read my entry carefully and had quoted me accurately. It has certainly reminded me that by posting my thoughts here I am laying them open to scrutiny by anyone and everyone. I will continue to bare this in mind when I post!

Rubber ball, I come bouncin' back to you
Rubber ball, I come bouncin' back to you
I'm like a rubber ball
Baby that's all that I am to you
(Bouncy, bouncy) (bouncy, bouncy)

(Aaron Schroeder and Ann Orlowski)

Wednesday, 3 October 2007


The pressure is now on. We are fully back into the exercise cycle and the crew are working hard towards their Competency Based Training Scheme (CoBT).

Each crewmember gets a training scheme which varies depending on what their position is onboard the boat (mechanic, coxswain, navigator, crewmember, 1st aider or probationer). Each key skill or bit of knowledge is set down in the training manual and every once in a while an assessor will visit and judge whether the standard has been met by each individual.

Rob, our second Coxswain and Training Co-ordinator has now deemed that everyone who has been on the crew for 2 or more years must have completed all assessments by Christmas. This seems reasonable. Nick pictured here has made good progress so far but must now get the last few parts signed off so that he can fully demonstrate his proficiency. Go for it!