Wednesday, 30 April 2008

Last April shout?

Over lunch time the ALB was launched in a hurry to attend a Motor yacht in trouble at Durlston head. As it happens I was here umpiring a cricket match so don't know the inside story. Here's the details from our website:

Crew: M. Steeden (Coxn), D. Turnbull, P. Elleray, G. Steeden, D. Lander, O. Clark, T. Mansell (TDI South)

Details: At 13:18 Portland Coastguard paged for an immediate launch of Swanage's All Weather Lifeboat. They had received a '999' call from the crew of a motorboat that had broken down near Durlston Head and was being blown towards the rocks. Nine minutes later the Lifeboat launched and headed for the casualty at full speed. As luck would have it an RNLI Training boat was in the area and they were standing by the casualty at the Southern end of Durlston Bay. Once on scene 2 Lifeboat crew were put aboard the stricken motorboat as one of their crew was suffering from seasickness and a tow needed to be rigged. With a towline connected the casualty was taken to the Lifeboat mooring in Swanage Bay. Once secured to the mooring Dave Turnbull, the Lifeboat's mechanic, had a look at the vessel's engines. They had both stopped at virtually the same time and the problem seemed to be dirty fuel. The system was bled and both engines started but after a short test run one stopped again and it was decided to leave the boat on the mooring until the fuel system could be properly cleaned. The 4 crew were then taken ashore aboard the Lifeboat.

Skill fade

There is no doubt that over time skills fade with lack of use. The RNLI invests a lot of time and money training it's crews in order to provide them with the skills needed to deal with the incidents they attend. It's not surprising then that they also wish to analyse how effective any new course or training method is. With this in mind, during our exercise last night we had a fairly comprehensive and realistic medical incident to deal with.

Our second Coxswain Robert had brought a Severn class lifeboat from Poole containing the full 1st aid training team from Poole, Howard Ramm and three casualties. In the course of our exercise we were tasked to attend this 'casualty' which had experienced an explosion onboard. The ILB got there first and tied up alongside allowing one person to attend each casualty.

Gavin was dealing with a fellow who was unconscious, had no airway and an immediate life threatening bleed. In pretty short order he temporarily stemmed the flow with a fist in the groin, applied a CAT (Combat Application Tourniquet) and then established an airway whereupon the casualty began breathing. As soon as the ALB crew arrived he had enough hands to administer Oxygen and begin immobilising an open fracture to the lower leg.

Meanwhile Chad had begun his assessment of the second casualty. She had rapid and shallow breathing and was propped in a tripod position so was quickly assessed as 'Big Sick' despite having no injuries (she was complaining of chest pain). Chad moved her to a more comfortable position, made a great job of reassuring her then continued with his assessment. It turned out she was under investigation by her GP for a heart condition. Chad got out his check cards and correctly applied GTN and a dose of Aspirin.

The extra hands who had arrived onboard from the ALB were deployed to help with each of the casualties. Dave established an equipment cache while I visited each of the casualties to establish our priorities for evacuation. Interestingly it was our third casualty, dealt with by John Deas who became our highest priority, despite being a walker and so a P3. She had been caught in the blast and had burns to her hands, neck and face. John dressed her hands with 'cling-film' then put her on oxygen. Our concern was that her breathing was laboured and seemed to be getting worse. Needless to say we suspected internal burns to her throat and perhaps lungs so wanted her treated ashore as a priority.

And with that we began our evacuation, no easy feat with two moving boats at sea but achieved safely and speedily.

Our subsequent debrief seemed to show that we had mostly treated the right things and done enough to keep the casualties alive! Indeed all of the staff seemed pleased with the relatively low level of skill fade shown across the crew. That's not so say that there wasn't stuff that we'd forgotten, however, we seemed to have remembered a great deal more and were more confident than after previous courses.

A good result I feel.............

Tuesday, 29 April 2008


I seem to have a lot of photos like this in my collection. Whenever we have young visitors they always seem to want to visit the lifeboat and have a look round.

Rueben here has a well developed interest in Lifeboats and was clearly enjoying his visit.

Not that the girls were missing out on any of the fun. Indeed my two like nothing more than showing others around 'their' lifeboat!

Unusually it is an exercise tonight as we have the inspector arriving for some assessments. Naturally last night the mechanics were at the boathouse giving everything an extra spit and polish in preparation........and very smart it looks too.

Monday, 28 April 2008


Congratulations to Paul Savage. Another milestone has been reached with the production of this new 'ready reference' guide to first aid on Lifeboats.

It incorporates all of the new ideas from our training course over the winter and is designed to be carried by each first aider on the boat.It includes many blank form pages to be used to record casualty details during a shout and as such it expected that it will be used as a matter of course during first aid situations.

As you can see, each page is laid out clearly and guides a crew member through an incident. It uses the language from the course and will, I feel, be a huge help.

Well done Paul!

Thursday, 24 April 2008

Good news

Becky's operation went well so we should be seeing more of her smiling face around the place soon. It was all done with key hole surgery so there should be no major scars and the recovery ought to be quick. Naturally she has demanded to be back home today so that she can get back to work! Sad girl.......

Wednesday, 23 April 2008

Rescue dinghy

I'm not sure if I've ever mentioned this before? Some years ago we were tasked to go out and locate a dinghy which had been spotted drifting by a passing yacht. It turned out to be this little plastic thing. Time passed and no one arrived to collect it so it has become one of the stations fixtures and fittings. It's useful too, not only for the crew to get out to their own boats on moorings but also for when we tow casualties in and put them on our mooring. My kids like it too as they can play inside without being told off.

Sadly, the dinghy next to it is no longer with us. During the winter it was washed away in a storm while not tied up (not sure who was responsible for that - Matt)! So if anyone knows where Martin can get another small dinghy he would be most greatful.

On a separate note, spare a thought for Becky who is having a operation on her Knee today. Something to do with a crucial ligament I think so let's hope it goes well.

It's also nick's birthday so happy birthday Nick!!

Friday, 18 April 2008

My new Shout bike...........

is a real beauty. Built very much in the mould of the sort of bicycle you might expect an English village vicar to arrive on. The kind of bike which it would be almost impossible to break into a sweat on. As usual it was procured from the town tip. The chap wanted £5 for it, I offered him £2 and we settled on £3 (don't tell him, I would have payed at least £7)! Needless to say it has attracted a certain amount of envy at the boathouse, to the extent that it keeps going adrift and turning up in the most unlikely locations. I shall have to take to locking it?

Tuesday, 15 April 2008

Let not the deep swallow me up...........

Is the motto of the RNLI and is the inscription on each medal issued by the institution. It is in fact a biblical reference taken from psalm 69. Martin's father-in-law (Victor Albert Marsh) was awarded a bronze medal in 1977 while serving as the second cox/mechanic (he later became Cox). Martin's sister-in-law has commemorated this achievement with an incredible tattoo of the J Reginald Corah and the words from the medal across her lower back. A fitting tribute? I think so......


Each All Weather Lifeboat is designed so that it can not only survive a capsize but also continue to operate afterwards. Although the main cabin (wheelhouse) and the engine room are seemingly waterproof and sealed they do in-fact have a number of openings in their structures. For example, the engine room has openings to allow air in and out for cooling and also for the engines to be able to breath.

Each of these openings is marked on the deck with red paint and also numbered (odds to starboard and evens to port). In the event of a fire they can be manually shut to seal the space and prevent oxygen from reaching the fire. Some of them, such as this one, are also designed to self close in the event of a capsize to prevent water ingress.

Monday, 14 April 2008


I've mentioned my pal Mark here before. For the past 18 months or so he's been writing a Kayaking Guidebook to the South West peninsula (unlike lonely planet guides I have it on good authority that he has actually visited all of the places mentioned!)

This weekend was the launch of his book down in Devon. I was meant to go but for a variety of reasons couldn't make it. During the evening in the Southern most pub in Devon he gave a slide show of pictures from his travels and also held a raffle raising over £200 for the RNLI. Well done Mark, the book looks awesome and, if anyone reading wants to buy a copy they can do so here.

Thursday, 10 April 2008


So I've been away. Not just travelling the country but also heaving bit of a break from routine here at home. Hence no posts of late.

That's not to say that we've not been busy of course. Since returning from my sailing trip we've had an exercise and a couple of shouts.

Last night on the ALB we took our 3 'newbies' to sea for a taster of what we do. From left to right are Sam, Ty and Darren. All three keen as mustard and will no doubt prove their worth with time. Luckily for them we got a shout half way through the exercise so they got a bit of a buzz from that no doubt.

The ILB was out on exercise too and had Rob onboard so, for the second time in a week he got a shout on the ILB (not something he normally does).

Bizarrely the shout was to look for a young man suspected of trying to harm himself. Despite searching from the 'Western Mile Markers' to 'Chapman's Pool' we found nothing......not surprising really as it turned out he was in an altogether different part of the country (he was traced using his mobile phone signal I understand).

So, not sure how that one ended but we got to the pub in time for a pint.

Tuesday, 1 April 2008

Swimming and Smart Cars

In testament to the RNLI, staff at the RNLI Headquarters in Poole regularly carry out their own fund raising events. Last Friday a Swimathon was organised by Brett Shepherd. Brett is running the London Marathon this year and thought a Swimathon would be a good way of involving others in his fund raising efforts. Willing (I use the term loosely) staff volunteers took to the freezing cold survival pool. Not being a heated facility a variety of swimming kit was adorned, including wetsuits, dry suits and Speedo’s! The target of 26 miles had been set and 31 people rose to the challenge.

The picture shows Bob Bradfield, who is a member of Poole Coastguard and works here at the RNLI and managed 50 lengths in a dry suit. Our very own John Deas also took part, topping the table with a 106 lengths.

In total the team swam over 30 miles raising more than £1000. A great effort by all who took part.

On a separate note I look forward to seeing our local Coastguards in their smart new vehicles! Further details can be found on their blog,