Friday, 31 October 2008

We've got the decorators in

Our periodic boathouse upkeep and maintenance is now underway. We have a team of lads with us for about 4 weeks and they will mainly be repainting and touching up everything which is painted or varnished. At the moment the boathouse resembles a war zone with scaffolding, paint pots, ladders, tools, filler and undercoat everywhere. No doubt in time it will begin to look shiny and new again!

In the meantime we are treading carefully and taking care not to touch anything for fear of getting covered in paint.

Thursday, 30 October 2008

Farewell trusty companion

After something like 9 years of trusty service at our sides, the life of our old pagers has come to an end. I believe that they had become obsolete, and thus, it was no longer possible to service them when they became damaged. For some time trials have been conducted to find a replacement. Finally, last night, our new pagers were revealed. And darned smart they are too. No doubt in time we will learn what all the buttons and fancy features do. For the meantime lets just hope that they beep when needed.

Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Doing a Wilson Pickett

So Richard also asked how hard it is to get out of bed in the early hours of a dark and cold winter's night. Not surprisingly it is a bit of a shock. One moment you are cuddled up safe and warm in the lee of bum island...the next you are struggling into reluctant clothing, trying not to wake everyone, find the car keys, find the car, go back and get the correct keys for that car etc, etc, etc. No doubt there are some for whom there is a temptation to stay there in bed and silence the pager. However, I think we all resist that temptation. Needless to say, it is generally on these sort of shouts where our services are most urgently required.

By the way. The photo is of B on an evening exercise. Imagine how rough he looks at 'oh my God it's early' o'clock!

Tuesday, 28 October 2008


Thanks to Richard Bell for these questions:

Whats the weirdest situation/place that your pager has gone off (that's publishable)? How difficult is it to get up and out of bed in the early hours on a winters day?

Taking one at a time:

Probably the funniest time that my pager has gone off was mid haircut. At the time I had longer hair up top and cropped hair on the sides. My hairdresser had just cropped the sides very short as my pager went off. I ran out the door looking like some dodgy 1980's pop star with a really nasty step in my hair. I then spent about 4hours sat on the casualty vessel while we towed it getting some very funny looks. Annoyingly it was some days before I managed to go back and get the job finished!

Then there was the time I was 3/4 of the way through packing my weekly shopping at the till in the Co-Op. The checkout staff wasn't particularly impressed when I walked out leaving it all there for them to deal with.

There was also the occasion when I had a queue of a dozen parents waiting to see me at a parents evening at school. Not funny more awkward...

Monday, 27 October 2008

Bravo Zulu...

This message has just been left in the guestbook section of our website. I've said it before, we pretty rarely receive thanks like this but it is hugely appreciated when we do.

Message: Message to Gavin and the Crew who rescued us today off Harry Rocks in our 29ft Cruiser Esprit.

Guys just to say a huge thank you - we have just arrived home all safe and sound thanks to you. Dad, Harry (aged 79) has been released from hospital this evening having undergone many tests. Nothing conclusive except an irregular heartbeat which will be monitored together with his recently changed medication being looked into as they feel this could have been the cause of his illness today.

We feel totally indebted to you guys - you do an amazing job and cannot speak highly enough of what you did for us today. Having been boating in excess of 10 years we would never have expected to have to use your services -you were great.

We would like to make a donation to the RNLI and would appreciate you letting us know how to do so.

Thanks again - cannot stop saying thank you - it must also be mentioned that John the Operator was amazing he kept us in control of the situation until you arrived and gave us huge confidence for the safety of all.

Cheers again guys - sorry Gavin if we ruined your lunch!! not sure this is what we interrupted but if it was we owe you one.

Karen & Gary

By the way...I happen to know that it wasn't his lunch which Gav had interrupted!!

Sunday, 26 October 2008

Mixed blessing

So the certificates for our recent first aid course arrived last week. Very exciting they are to. The only problem...they have John Deas' face on them!

Paul, if you'd only asked I have loads of much better photos from the course!

Coastal passage making

isn't always as straight forwards as it seems. Yesterday the ALB was called upon to assist a 28’ motor cruiser with 5 persons on board including an 89 year old man who had fallen and was suffering from seasickness. Portland were worried about the man’s condition and weren't able to get a clear position from the boat’s crew (possibly near Old Harry). They requested Swanage Coastguard, Rescue Helicopter 106 and Swanage Lifeboat to attend. Swanage Coastguard were soon at Old Harry and confirmed that a boat the Lifeboat was tracking on radar matched the vessel’s description.

Once alongside, Gav was put onboard to assess the man’s condition. After a comprehensive assessment he concluded that the best thing was for the man to remain on board and get picked up by paramedics at Sandbanks. Both boats set off via the East Looe channel and arrived at the landing steps about 20 minutes after first arriving on scene. The man was transferred to a waiting ambulance along with one of the motor boats crew. The remaining crew continued their passage and the ALB was released to return to station.

Thanks to the station website for most of the details here

Friday, 24 October 2008

Busy, busy

Andy asked the question:

How about where we fitted in in the statistics of launches/rescues for the first 6 months of the year compared with other stations around the country?

Well, to quote the RNLI: The statistics show that RNLI lifeboats rescued 630 people in the first six months of 2008, nine more than in the same period of 2007 while RNLI lifeguards went to the aid of 1,906 people, up over 400 from a year earlier. The busiest lifeboat station in the south west was Poole in Dorset and the next five busiest were all lifeboats based in Devon and Cornwall (Exmouth, Plymouth, Falmouth, Torbay and Appledore). In total RNLI lifeboats in the south west launched 675 times from January 1 to June 30 this year, little changed from 655 launches in the same period last year. Thanks Tamsin and Amy for that!

So where did we fit in? Well, this year we were 9th out of 35 stations for the period January to June with 29 launches in total. There were 16 ALB shouts and 13 ILB shouts with a total of 22 people rescued. In the same period in the previous year we were 11th with 25 shouts and again 22 people rescued. So we are busy but much less busy that some!

Slightly random photo of one of our local landmarks...anyone know where it is and anything of its history?

Thursday, 23 October 2008


Regular reader Joan asked the question:

Hi John
2 questions, Is there a loo on the ALB?, and because you have advanced first aid skills, do they call on you at school to deal with incidents?
all the best to you and all the crew

The answer, on our class of lifeboat is that there are no 'Heads'. We operate a 'Bucket 'n' chuck it' system, which, most of the time works perfectly well. Of course, in very rough conditions or where we have been out for a very long time it can become a pretty unpleasant and messy business. Hand washing facilities are also somewhat lacking!

On larger ALBs (Severn, Tamar and Trent) there is a dedicated Heads and crews are treated to a far higher level of pampering and comfort. Perhaps our slogan should be, 'Real Lifeboatmen do it in a bucket on a Mersey'?!

Joan, thanks for the question...I'll come back to the second one later.

Sunday, 19 October 2008

Lazy Sunday

Oops, I thought I had posted these yesterday evening...turns out I hadn't!

Tom and I spent the wee early hours hauling a few of his new pots from his new inshore fishing boat.

As we came ashore we were snapped by Mark Rainsley.

After tea and bacon sarnies at ours he headed out to take some snaps of the ALB on exercise.

Even in a reasonably moderate sea the ALB looked pretty impressive and Mark's photos do it full justice.

Here she is mid turn with a few crew on the afterdeck.

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

Younger brother

Inexplicably I arrived home this evening to find the latest Land Rover Defender brochure waiting for me on the doormat. Naturally, as a poor teacher, I find myself in no position to buy one of these things (my own Landy will be 33 this year) however, I couldn't resist a quick browse.

And I have to say, the overall quality of the presentation was excellent, but best of all was this shot on page 10. It shows a Defender 110 in the process of launching not just any ILB but the younger brother of our boat the 'Jack Cleare' (D-613).

Now I suspect that the photo is purely a publicity shot and D-614 isn't an actual lifeboat on station but rather a relief lifeboat. Indeed, the Land Rover shown isn't an RNLI is missing the white roof, blue lights in the grill, steel wheels and of course all of the stickering. As ever,I'm sure someone will correct me if I am wrong in this web of assumptions.

Just talk...

Here's a chance for you to just talk. Not about something I've written just about things that you'd like to know. The Inshore Lifeboat First Aid kit, perhaps. How to go about visiting the boathouse, if you like. Whatever, just ask by leaving a comment.

To be honest I'm sometimes struggling to remember exactly what I have and haven't written about in the past so feel that there may well be large gaps in what I have told you about our boats and crew. So, feel free to: ask questions, answer questions or make comments.

Somebody hurry up and be the first to say or ask something!

Let's talk. Let's have fun. Let's discuss out how to save lives at sea....

Virtually life

This mornings 'pause for thought' on radio 2 touched on the theme of our virtual lives and questioned whether we were in danger of putting too much store in our virtual 'on-line' lives at the expense of our very real 'off-line' lives. Of course the answer is all in balance...gaining a sufficiency but knowing when to stop. Like most things in life I guess?

Coincidentally I received an e-mail this morning from Nigel Saxon (e-media manager for the RNLI) confirming that it was indeed Rob driving the Tamar in the YouTube clip yesterday and pointing out that there are many more online with our crew taking starring roles! Try this one:

He also let me know that he is working on completing a new RNLI application for Facebook. If I remember rightly the idea is that you create a virtual crew using your Facebook friends. It sounds very exciting and will no doubt be a great way of engaging with young people. More details when Nigel lets me have them...

Tuesday, 14 October 2008


it's been a bit quite around here recently. It's not even as if nothing has been happening, it's just I've been busy here at work (yeah can stop laughing now)!

Anyway, I just spotted this on the official RNLI youtube channel and couldn't help spotting what looked like Rob driving the Tamar. Does anyone know if it was him?

I still love the song and am very impressed with Seth for giving up so much of his time and energy for the RNLI

Thursday, 2 October 2008

County flag

Dorset now has it's own county flag. Martin is a keen supporter of this......I wonder if we will soon be flying one on the boat? What are your thoughts on this? Let us know please....

More information on the flag can be found here.

Lieutenant Dan

Apparently there are Dolphins in the area at the moment.

Tom spotted them in Durlston Bay on Saturday afternoon and so John & Becky and Liz and the girls and I went round in the boats to see if we could find them. Naturally, as soon as we turned up they all disappeared and there was nothing to be seen.

John sat up on his wakeboarding tower looking not unlike Lieutenant Dan Taylor in Forest Gump (except with legs)!

(Thanks to Becky for the photo)