Thursday, 28 January 2010

Among other things

Last night Skid spent time going through emergency steering with the 3 more junior crewmembers who came to sea with us. Once they had all had a go at setting it up we then spent some time motoring around in circles (lots of circles) getting the feel for it...or not!

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Watch closely

and see if you can see our Second Coxwain Rob Aggas in this video of Sennen Cove's crew taking their new Tamar class lifeboat to London. The man gets, literally, everywhere!

Tuesday, 26 January 2010


It's all in the news that 2009 has been the busiest year ever for the RNLI. As it happens, it wasn't us but it seems to have been for many other stations in the South West and the rest of the UK. Perhaps as a result of more people deciding to take a holiday in the UK rather than going abroad? Anyway, don't read too much into it but to repeat Adrian's comment...don't become a statistic this year!

Saturday, 23 January 2010

Just a reminder...

That the annual RNLI SOS day is nearly upon us. This year the Guild are staging a Soup and Sweet event at the Roman Catholic church hall next Saturday (3oth Jan) between 12 and 2pm. Tickets are available for £5 from Corbens and the Lifeboat Shop. Please make an effort to attend.

Simultaneously the crew will be washing cars once again outside Jewsons from 9.30am until 4pm, there is no fixed price for this, just make a donation (grab a bargain or get the most expensive car wash of all time depending on how generous you are feeling!) Needless to say, the crew are experienced and careful and take pride in a job well done.

Be there...we need your support.

Thursday, 21 January 2010

Washing down

I can't remember ever posting any photos of us washing down the boat after an exercise or shout...I guess I must have, but somehow the memory escapes me! Anyway, typically we land on the slipway (well done Dan last night for a fine job done) and then as we are hauled up the lads/lasses on deck begin to wash down with hot soapy(car wash) water and sponges. Once that is done everything is hosed off with fresh water then the boat is hauled into the boathouse.

So, busy with the sponges last night were Nick...


And Dan...who for some reason seemed to be wearing the washing up water!

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

More weather

It's exercise night tonight, typically the weather has come in again and it is due to pour with rain. Hopefully the wind will hold off sufficiently for us to get out to secure in the knowledge that we can revover the boat onto the slip at the end end of the exercise safely.

Sunday, 17 January 2010


My hopes of a paddle in the kayak were dashed but a leisurely stroll about the town and Durlston bay revealed that the people were continuing to make good use of the sea. Heading home I watched 'San Gina II' steam across the bay and so popped down to have a quick chat with skipper Tom. He was returning after one of his first trips of the year and reported slim least you had the weather Tom!

Blue skies and calm seas

So finally the dreary snow, ice, howling wind and general atmospheric misery has given way to blue skies and calm seas. Walking along the sea front this morning there were 3 gigs plying their oars in the bay and a fleet of dinghies out from the sailing club. Further offshore there is little trade. It is certain that here in Swanage the first hint of clear weather sees us all race to get back into our own particular craft and take to the seas again. Hopefully I can get a peaceful paddle in this afternoon with no demands from my pager...

Thursday, 14 January 2010

Sad news

It was very sad to hear last week of the sudden but peaceful death of the ex Swanage Lifeboat Cox'n, Ron Hardy at the age of 91. Ever since I have been involved with the crew, Ron has been a seemingly constant presence nearby at the angling club and has been a source of loyal and wise support for us and the work we do.

It is therefore a huge honour that the crew have been asked to be pall bearers and provide a guard of honour at the funeral next Monday at 1pm at the URC church in Swanage. Though I can't be there my thoughts will be.

Of course, every good man is supported by an equally capable woman, and our thoughts are with Ron's wife, Joan, whom he leaves behind. Joan too has been a huge supporter of the lifeboats. Just over a year ago she stood down as the President of the Swanage Lifeboat Guild after many, many years of loyal service.

The picture above shows Ron as Cox'n of the R.L.P. sometime in the early 70's.

I would be delighted if anyone who remembers Ron's time on the crew and as Cox'n could leave a memory or two as a comment here.


Monday, 11 January 2010

The Boss

So, our new boss, Paul Boissier, is coming over to visit us this week. Naturally this is very exciting as he is not only ex-RN but also a breadmaking sailor like myself!

I am temporarily indisposed in the North with family sadness but hope to return in time to meet the man himself and perhaps ask him a few questions (I've never done an interview). Perhaps you'd like to let me have some questions that you'd like answering and I will do my best to get them answered. Either attach as comments or e-mail them to me.

Friday, 8 January 2010


'The Oxford Companion to Ships and the Sea' defines Trim as being, "The way in which a ship floats on the water, in relation to it's fore-and-aft line". In this picture you can see that a heavy object has been placed on the bow of the ILB and it has altered the Trim of the vessel by sinking the bow somewhat and lifting the stern out of the water...

Thursday, 7 January 2010


Although the ILB requires a crew of 3, during the winter months or when the sea is a bit rougher, we tend to get an extra couple of crew kitted up prior to launching. These extras can be a big help with launching by pushing the trolley into the sea, helping crew into the boat if need be and then of course recovering the trolley once the boat has gone. It's also 'Sods Law' that if only 3 crew get kit on, then one of them will tear a drysuit seal or have another similar incident so preventing them from getting on to the boat thus increasing the time it takes to launch.

Tuesday, 5 January 2010


We used to use this bit of kit a lot. As you can see from the state of it, it is pretty much redundent nowadays. Can anyone guess what it is/was?

Monday, 4 January 2010

Warming up

If at all possible, on cold lumpy days, we try to run the ILB engine for a few minutes to get it warmed up before launching. This gives the helmsman and crew some confidence that when the boat does hit the water and goes beyond the point of no return, that power will be there when it's needed.

Of course, it's not that our outboards are un-reliable, it's just that outboards will be outboards sometimes and why take a chance when you have an alternative?!

Our system is not complex. Indeed it is nothing more sophisticated than a length of hose with flush mutts attached.

Once the crew and helmsman are happy that all is ready and the engine warmed, the mutts are removed and the boat launched.

And when the first wave breaks over the she goes in a shower of spume and spray.

Sunday, 3 January 2010

First exercise of the year

So, this morning heralded the first exercise of the New Year and decade. Good bye 'noughties' and hello 'teenies'!

Once we had all arrived at the boathouse it rapidly became clear that the easterly wind was going to make recovering the Mersey unnecessarily hazardous so it was decided to launch only the ILB. Dressed up warm in their drysuits and woolly bears the lads headed out without a backward glance.

As ever, they achieved much and looked very purposeful and professional out there in the bay on their own. When others are heading out the RNLI head out...