Tuesday, 20 November 2007

Not something we wish to see in anger

IB1 or the 'D' class lifeboat is the only lifeboat in the RNLI fleet (except the Thames boats and hovercrafts) which is not self-righting. This means if the worst happens, as it sometimes does, and it capsizes, the only way to get it back upright is 'handraulically'.During lifeboat week this year we had one of the old retired 'D' class boats from headquarters. It's job in life now is to serve as a practise boat to be taken to stations around the coast so that ILB crews can practise their capsize recoveries. And to be honest it's pretty simple.Swim out from under the boat. Check every one is there. Climb onto the upturned hull.Free the painter. Tie it off at the stern. Hold on tight and lean back.If it all goes according to plan (and especially if Tom is onboard) it will all be shipshape and the right way up in a matter of moments. Of course you are now the right way up, with no power and the brother of the nasty wave which capsized you is heading your way! It's now going to take about 5 minutes to purge the engine of water and get it started again......time to get the sea anchor and oars out (of course you can't really paddle the boat with the oars but they do a fine job of keeping the bow to the sea).

Thanks to Mark Savage for the photos


Douglas Wilcox said...

Hello John, a capsize at night sounds horrendous. Do you need to get the plugs out of the motor? How likely is it that a motor will restart? How many ILB's capsize? Sorry so many questions, I just feel humbled by all the possibile dangers you guys put yourself into in the service of others.
Thank you.

lifeboatjohn said...


Thanks for the inspiration for tomorrows post! If you can bear with me I will answer these questions as a post in the next day or so. I may need to research it!

Best wishes


P.S. Very much enjoying the Ocean Paddler articles.......excellent as ever.