Friday, 25 September 2009

Happy ending

The ILB was out again yesterday searching for a pensioner who had Alzheimer's and had gone missing. The ECHO reports today that she has been found alive...good news.

Tuesday, 22 September 2009


shouts come out of the blue and fall through the gaps. Yesterday afternoon the ILB was about to launch on exercise when a member of the public asked them to investigate a friends boat which was overdue and they thought might have broken down. Tom, Oli and Ty quickly launched, located the boat and recovered it to the council slipway in textbook fashion. Hardly expected at this time of year and on Monday afternoon to boot.

And of course I knew nothing about it until I got the latest launch bulletin this morning in my inbox! Each Monday I turn my pager off as I leave for work. This is because our new ones keep ringing until they are turned off, unlike the old ones which used to time out after a set period of time. So of course, when I get home and turn it on, any messages which have been sent in the interim will have been lost to the ether.

Anyway, for what it is worth, well done lads.

Saturday, 19 September 2009


So, this morning at 6.45 my wife Liz, Crewmate Steve, next-door neighbour Joe and acquaintance Paul leaped off Swanage pier (thanks Russ for opening up and Chad and Cameron for seeing us off). Their intention? To swim from Swanage Pier to Bournemouth Pier!
Becky was there too in her kayak and much appreciated it was too. The weather was fine with just a slight ground swell running.

A little more than an hour later all four of the swimmers passed Old Harry and were looking very strong.

Friends Tom and Rachel came down from Hamble with their RIB to provide additional safety cover. Rachel had also provided deliciously welcome food for the boat crews.

And so, at 1031 the swimmers arrived at Bournemouth pier and after touching the structure continued in to the beach for a glass of champagne.

A big congratulations to you all. I for one could never dream of swimming anything like 8.3 miles so the whole endeavour appears to me a truly awesome feat of endurance. Well done!

Liz was swimming to raise money for the Lewis-Manning hospice which provides palliative care to 600 local people each year. If you feel inclined you might make a donation on her JustGiving page. I hope that you feel able to make a contribution towards their valuable work.

Friday, 18 September 2009

When the hurlyburly's done

it still remains for someone to wash down the boat, stow all of the kit properly and then give the engine a bit of TLC. Here Matt is flushing it out with fresh water through the muffs.

First Witch: When shall we three meet again
In thunder, lightning, or in rain?
Second Witch: When the hurlyburly's done,
When the battle's lost and won.

(Macbeth; Act 1, scene 1)

Thursday, 17 September 2009

Rough weather launch

I never manage to feature many photos of ILB due to me now spending almost all of my time on the ALB. However, last night due to weather conditions we didn't launch the ALB so I was around to take a few snaps of the ILB boys (and girls) practising their rough weather launch and recovery techniques.

This is a tricky manoeuvre which requires precise timing and solid teamwork. Communication is tricky so it is vital that it is practised and that all members of the team share a common vision of what is trying to be achieved. Here the Helmsman is watching the waves and also maintaining contact with the winchman who will be ready to slip the rope at his command.

Once in the water the launch crew push the trolley deep enough so that the Helmsman can drive the boat purposefully off the trolley and through the first breaking wave.

Here the ILB has disappeared into the trough behind the first wave and only the masthead light is visible. Slightly un-nerving for any mothers watching, but all normal run of the mill stuff really!

And they're through, safely past the surf zone and heading out to sea. All that remains is to come back in and get safely back onto the trolley and dry land...

Tuesday, 15 September 2009


While at the boatshow last weekend, I bumped into a charming (but possibly slightly bonkers) fellow called Tom McNally. He intends to sail across the atlantic later this year, not once, but twice, in an impossibly small boat: 3 foot ten inches long! This is not the first time he has done this sort of thing. Indeed, he has previously held the record for having sailed the smallest boat ever (5 feet 4 1/2 inches) across the 'big pond'. Since being beaten by an American sailor (5 feet 3 1/2 inches) he has decided to have another crack at the record. He claims to have no interest in fame or money, he just enjoys sailing small boats and having a challenge!

Anyway, many people might think that he is completely off his it happens I don't share this opinion. I think that he's certainly eccentric (and possibly doesn't give enough consideration to his own personal comfort) but quite sane.

Good luck Tom!

Monday, 14 September 2009

Both boats

The advantage of having two boats is that they often offer complimentary strengths. For example, during last night's shout the vessel in difficulty had drifted into shallow water near Old Harry which could well have made it difficult for the Mersey to approach given it's draft.
However, with the ILB available, we were able to use them to transfer people as necessary and pass the tow line whilst the Mersey waited further out to sea in deeper water.

Once the tow was attached, John stayed aboard and the ILB returned to station while the Mersey commenced a tow up into Poole harbour.

Another example is when we have a casualty on the shore under the cliffs, the ILB can get there faster and get into the shore, while the Mersey can provide the stable platform often needed to treat casualties upon.

So, we count ourselves lucky that we have two such fine, but different boats (as no doubt did last nights casualties).

Friday, 11 September 2009

Rubbish photos

I've got a thing about bad photos.

I've discovered that, despite my best efforts, not every photo I take turns out anything like I had hope it would. Last Wednesday evening was a case in point and pretty much every photo was an unmitigated disaster. However, for some reason, I still like some of them. Perhaps it's because...uncluttered with detail and out of focus they just somehow give a sense or 'feel' of what it was like to be there?

Anyway, here's us heading south away from the Jurassic coast towards France (only temporarily).

And I liked this one too because of the way that if gives the impression that the cabin is somehow a warm and cosy place to be...

Thursday, 10 September 2009

Down under up here...

Last night's exercise was another good one. We had along some full time Coastguard employees from New Zealand who are, I think, here in the UK spending some time with the RNLI and our Coastguard learning how we do things. Part of this was to be brought over to Swanage by our old inspector Andy Whyte for a trip out to sea with a 'proper' crew.

Matt spent the first part of the exercise showing Nick how to use the drogue, which went well.

Cheryl, an area manger from the South Island of New Zealand, got to have a go at helming the boat.

And while we were there a truly spectacular sunset took place which showed our patch of to it's very best...I think the Kiwis were impressed by our scenery.

Wednesday, 2 September 2009


The ILB was out for a quick shout this afternoon. I was stuck at home roasting marshmallows over and open fire while on my own with the girls. Hence I have few details about the shout just now. All I do know is that the person aboard the casualty vessel was well equipped and recognised that he needed help so fired a flare to bring attention to his plight. While I'm not sure 'exactly' who was aboard the jetski, I do suspect that someone might be buying a few beers after the exercise tonight!

(Photo: Swanage Lifeboat photo archive)