Tuesday, 30 September 2008

As promised...

here are some photos from the exercise on Sunday.

Martin decided to take charge and teach Sam how to set up the tow. It felt a bit like I was doing a classroom observation...I have to say, he was very good!

Meanwhile on the rowing club pontoon Dave was teaching Andy how to set up a bridle to spread th load on a casualty vessel.

Almost as we finished and handed the pontoon over to the rowing club we got tasked by Portland to go and pick up a dinghy which had been sighted by the Barfleur drifting about 7 miles SE of Peveril point. On arrival Rob jumped onboard to have a quick once over and check that it was OK to be towed.

I'm sure it's a very useful dinghy Geoff but Rob was pretty keen to get off!

Once we were about 1/2 way back we handed the tow over to the ILB so that we could carry on with our mornings activities.

Monday, 29 September 2008

Good exercise

Yesterday morning both boats were at sea. Crew were pretty few and far between as it was Gav's birthday and everyone was off paintballing somewhere.

Those of us left had a sound exercise. With two probationers (Andy and Sam) along, we focused on the real basics of rigging up a tow. For example; how to make a rope off on the samson post, how to keep the rope in the water clear of the props, and how to surge the rope without loosing fingers. This all went well and we spent some time towing the rowing club pontoon about the bay. Just as we were finishing this we were asked by Portland to head out to sea to recover a dinghy which was adrift 7 miles out and had been spotted by the Barfleur. 20 minutes later we were alongside and took the opportunity to use it as a datum for a sector search. We then put the training into practise and Andy and Sam rigged the tow before we headed home.

I did of course take a load of pictures...however, I've no idea where my camera is so you'll have to bear with me! I'll post them once I've found it.

Friday, 26 September 2008

As promised

Here are some pictures from our emergency services day at school yesterday.

Ian Brown and Pip Hall from the coastguard were well practised at delivering this sort of presentation to school pupils.

Stephen and the rest of the Fire service team from Wimborne were not surprisingly pretty impressive in their spotless Fire engine.

Liam and Matt from the RNLI had no difficulty holding the kids attention with their awesome looking Atlantic 85 and Jet Ski.

Of course all the kids wanted to know exactly how many criminals Steven, Sarah and Matt had shot this week!

The answer was slightly disappointing for them but for me quite a comfort!

Steph and the ladies from the kitchen kept us very well supplied with tea, Coffee, Bacon sarnies and curry for lunch.

Everyone from all 4 services came along for lunch which must have meant they had enjoyed themselves too.

Thanks once again for coming...

Thursday, 25 September 2008


Well today was a busy day. I had organised an emergency services day at school so that all of our pupils could get a first hand impression of what all of the emergency services are capable of. I was delighted when everyone who said they would turn up did and was even more delighted to see that they seemed to be enjoying talking to our young people almost as much as they enjoyed it.

Naturally I took loads of pictures and promised to post a load of them up here...naturally I then forgot to bring the flippin' camera home! I'll do it tomorrow lads...I promise.

So a big thank you to Liam and Matt from the RNLI, Ian and Pip from the Coastguard, Steven, Sarah and Matt from the Wimborne Police station and finally Stephen and his team from Wimborne Fire Station. Thanks folks!

501 = my five hundred and first post......tonight.

Tuesday, 23 September 2008


One of the highlights of the boating year for me is the Southampton boatshow. I always like to visit and am often joined by my father from Spain. Naturally there is a strong RNLI presence there...this year there were effectively 3 stands and many cheerful volunteers spreading the word and raising funds and awareness. Much appreciated.
Our good friend Andy White was there running the 'Train one Save Many' roadshow. Seen on the left is his Mum (I think) taking part in the fun.

I bumped into the second Coxswain from Porth Dinllaen, Robert Jones, who was a friendly fellow. In true Welsh style almost the entire crew in Porth Dinllaen is called Jones (5), Williams (4) or Thomas (3). They are shortly to get a Tamar to replace their Tyne class ALB so I should imagine that they are pretty excited about the future of their station.

This young lad was taking the chance to admire an Atlantic 85. He had recently raised a very substantial sum of money for his local station through various fundraising activities. Much appreciated young man...well done!

Sunday, 21 September 2008

Busy...but not for me

If you have a look here you'll see that both of our boats have been busy for the last few days. As sometimes happens, all of the shouts have conspired to take place while I've been at work or out of town. After a run of missing shouts like this you start to feel a bit as if you'll never make another!

Luckily our services seem to have been appreciated by those we assisted. Have a read of this, it certainly seems as if this fellow has his head screwed on.

Friday, 19 September 2008

Pride of Britain

The crew of Torbay lifeboat, led by Coxswain Mark Criddle, have been named as finalists in the GMTV emergency services awards. I would imagine that they are pretty chuffed with this! Read the full story here. Voting is taking place this weekend, why not add yours here?
Photo: RNLI

Thursday, 18 September 2008

Climbing in

It was exercise night last night and for a change I went on the ILB. One part of the fitness test which I still had to complete was demonstrating the ability to climb into the ILB unassisted from the water. Technically we are allowed to use any one of a number of methods to do this, including using the engine as a step...however, rather like sailors on square riggers spurning the 'lubber's hole', it is considered poor form to re-enter the ILB by any other way than heaving oneself in over the side. Thankfully I managed this thanks to some helpful encouragement from Tom (thanks mate).

It was a crew meeting afterwards and unusually we had little to discuss other than how and where to hold our Christmas party. It looks like it might be the Ship again, perhaps black-tie, perhaps fancy dress. Whatever, I'm sure we'll be well looked after.

Incidentally, this photo was really the best I could do last night (I tried hard to get a decent photo of Tom but that wasn't going to happen). Not what I set out to take but I like it!

Wednesday, 17 September 2008


For some time I've been meaning to get some business cards made with the blog address on them. My idea was that I can then give them to people who enquire about the blog rather than constantly handing out scribbled on reciepts. I got these from a firm in London called Moo. The clever bit is that they upload photos from Flickr and will print as many different photos on the back of the cards as you choose. I ordered 100 cards and chose 10 different shots. Perhaps in years to come they'll be collectable like players cigarette cards?!


Reflecting back on a busy summer it is clear that much of what we have done would not have been possible without the support of our partners and friends. It would be impossible to name and thank them all individually but without their support we simply couldn't function as we do. Thanks!

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

A fresh look

at a few pictures from the summer has revealed a few which have been overlooked. This one in particular caught my eye. I'm beginning to prefer more abstract shots of the boats, I guess perhaps I've just run out of fresh angles!

Fitness test

On Wednesday last week we all had to complete some parts of the Lifeboat fitness test. This consisted of some practical assessments to check that we are all capable of completing a set of simple tasks which might be expected of us on the boat: carrying a heavy weight for 50yds (simulates carrying a stretcher), lifting the same heavy weight up a certain height (simulates lifting a person out of the water) and so on. Naturally the lads managed to find a way to turn it into an opportunity to prove just how macho they are!

And the winner? Rob of course...able to hold a full barrel of water away from his body for a full 30secs. Iron man...

Wednesday, 10 September 2008

What we did last weekend

Was take some camera crew to sea to record some video footage for the offical RNLI YouTube channel. The results are now online and here is a taster!

Monday, 8 September 2008

Last of the summer crowds

Everybody is moaning about our summer this year. At school it is the hot topic of conversation in the staff room. However, despite the gloomy bits, browsing through the photos has revealed plenty of sunny skies and lots of crowds. Here is a typical scene as we launched one day this summer. The boat park and angling club always draw a crowd of strollers whether it is sunny or over-cast. As soon as it becomes apparent that a shout is underway they stand enthralled...literally transfixed by the spectacle unfolding. I guess it will be a bit quieter for a while now.

Saturday, 6 September 2008

The Pageant of the bizarre.....

or as most people refer to it, the Swanage Folk Festival, is underway. Now I (along with many of the crew) am a closet 'Folky'.....however, some of the sights in town this weekend are distinctly odd if not downright bizarre!

This queerly dressed fellow was a keen RNLI supporter and sported (alongside a racoon's tail) an RNLI flag in his plumage.

With no hands free to hold his dog, this box squeezer had found a novel solution to controlling his mut.

The girls loved the square dancers and couldn't help but join in. They went down very well too!

I'm always intrigued by Morris dancers. They clearly enjoy what they are doing yet inject so little of that enjoyment into their dances.

And I've simply no idea what these two fellows had come as or for. Presumably they spend their working week hiding in hedges shooting people?

It's a lifeboat exercise in the morning so hopefully something more lifeboat orientated tomorrow night.

Wednesday, 3 September 2008


The front page of the RNLI website states that, the aim of the RNLI is to save lives at sea. An important part of fulfilling that aim is to educate folk in how to develop good sea sense and go to sea safely.

So once a year we put on the joint spectacle of the build a boat competition and the raft race!

Here you can see the outcome of the build a boat competition. Clearly seaworthyness was far from the minds of some of the competitors whilst they were constructing their craft.

Although our very own Gav who built this craft for Kim to paddle clearly had a few ideas about what might make for a speedy craft (and she won)!

This chap didn't last very long...of course, we could have predicted this and warned him, it just wouldn't have been so much fun!

Over at the raft race there was a huge turn out and some superb craft. The 'Red Devils' here were crewed by staff from the Purbeck View school and included the Coxn's wife.

Our boys had a go too...and won once more (always welcome 'cos we make them donate the prize money back to the RNLI)!

This typically flamboyant raft was paddled by Rowing Club Chairman George Wallis and his good wife Sue.

Well done to all who took part in a superb days worth of activities. Great fun was clearly had by all and plenty of funds were raised. Thanks.