Friday, 16 April 2010

Missing person

Wednesday was a particularly busy day for the ILB who had a shout in the early afternoon. Apparently a person was threatening to jump off the cliffs near Old Harry. The ILB was paged and quickly launched. At the same time the Coastguard proceeded to search the top of the cliffs. Nothing was found so all units were returned to base or station and stood down. Crew were Gav (helm), Ant and Darren.

Thursday, 15 April 2010

Lost and found

So last night was an inspectors exercise. We had the pleasure of going to sea with a very full boat which included our Divisional Inspector Adrian Carey and a colleague who is on the crew of a lifeboat on the North Island of New Zealand. He has recently won their award for volunteer of the year and has been rewarded with a trip to the UK to spend some time with the RNLI to see how we do things over here. Judging by our brief conversation, he has been mightily impressed by all that he has seen.

As part of the exercise we put in our 'special marker buoy' at the start of the exercise and then searched for it at the end. In fact we found it pretty easily and then re-deployed it for the final half hour of the exercise so that we could have another look once it had got dark. Worryingly we then struggled to find it! Once we had recovered it, it turned out that the lifejacket light on the top of it had malfunctioned. Indeed the only way we found it was by a brief flash in the dark as one of the search lights caught some of the 'retro-reflective' tape and made a flash. For me it highlighted the value of 'retro-tape' and demonstrated just how effective it can be in helping searchers to locate their caualty.

All good...

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Stag do...

Here's the video from the ILB headcam worn by our very own Oli last night.

Thanks to Dave T for editing it.

Monday, 12 April 2010

Oh deer...

Once again I was disturbed in the middle of my dinner (toad in the hole) and made my way quickly down to the boathouse (on the new 'Shout Bike') tonight.

Linda, this weeks DLA, explained that we were being launched to a report of a deer stranded on rocks in Durlston Bay. The ILB made it's way round quickly with our Senior Helm, Tom, in charge. Once on scene they went ashore and made an assessment and, after consulting with the RSPCA through Portland Coastguard, decided to guide the animal onto safe ground then leave it to it's own devices.

The boat arrived back just as it was gloaming so the photos I'm afraid are dreadful. Still, perhaps they capture something of a late evening recovery at springtime? For better photos have a look at Julian Sawyer's blog for something much better.

There is a fair old breeze blowing into the bay so it in fact looked quite bleak and uninviting out there.

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Ex RNLB Gertrude

Friend Mike Streeter sent this photo over a few weeks ago and I've been meaning to post it ever since.

Hi John,

Found this old girl resting peacefully in Mevagissey on a recent visit to Cornwall. (I never seem to get to these harbours when there is any water in them!) The boat is "Gertrude" and at the time I was not sure what class of boat it is. Research has shown her to be a 46ft. Watson, and, apparently, one of the last open cockpit boats built. Later modified by having the windscreen removed and a wheel shelter added.

I can't find out much about her service life but she was stationed at Sheerness from 1970-1974, probably the end of her career. She was replaced by a 44ft. Waveney.

Hope all is well in the lifeboat world

Mike Streeter

Sunday, 4 April 2010

Self righting

I was recently asked what it was about the design of a lifeboat which makes it self-righting. Now,I'm not very technical but my understanding is as follows:

All the heavy stuff like engines,shafts and fuel are low down in the boat and all the light stuff, like a wheelhouse full of air are at the top. When it is upside down the heavy stuff wants to be back at the bottom and the light stuff wants to be back at the top so it rolls back upright. The newer clases (Tamar and FCB2) have cavernous wheelhouses and snap back upright quite quickly, Merseys are a bit sluggish in comparison. It's interesting in the video to see how the lifeboat sits while upside down...bow pointing right up into the air.

Thursday, 1 April 2010

Start of the season?

So now that the clocks have gone forward I consider that the season has started. Last night was our first Wednesday exercise of the year since time was advanced and for the first time in a long time we launched in the light.

To watch us there were even a few hardy souls braving the bracing wind to see us make our splash. I just hope they got a better photo of us than we got of them.

And it was a good 'real-time' exercise where Rob put the crew onboard (and the ILB) through their paces with some simple but realistic scenarios. Mostly it went according to plan!

What didn't though was our post exercise pint and a sing song in the Red Lion. Once we'd got comfortable and begun to sing a few tunes (assisted this time by Robin, and Mike and Jim Etherington) our pagers sounded to spoil our fun...typical. So the back bar cleared quickly and soon we were heading out to offer our assistance.

It was a fairly typical shout, indeed, save for geography identical to the last. A yacht with engine and various other gear failures was struggling to make headway 4 miles to the East of the bay. Once on scene we rigged a tow and decided, because of the forecast winds, to take her into Poole. All went smoothly despite some difficulty of manoeuvring a 15 metre yacht alongside a 12 metre lifeboat. Nevertheless, she was soon secure alongside the quay and we made our way back to the boathouse to be ready for further service by 3am.

Think of those crew who had to be up for work this morning...