A 3am launch request for Poole Lifeboat during Storm Eleanor
At 0319 (3 Jan) the on duty Launch Authority, who this week is the Station’s Lifeboat Operations Manager, received a request to launch from the National Maritime Operations Centre (NMOC). The incident was to a person having entered the water at Durley Chine.
The conditions outside the Harbour were extremely windy and showed as Force 7 gusting Force 9 from the West with higher wind strengths off Portland and St Catherine’s.
These conditions are at the operational limit of the Atlantic so the LOM requested an immediate page of an Atlantic crew to assemble and at the same time requested that Swanage’s DLA was paged requesting a launch of their Shannon All Weather Lifeboat as cover for the Atlantic. The practice of requesting cover from a flanking station in conditions like these making huge sense as safety backup for the Poole crew as the Shannon can handle these conditions but the Atlantic is a better platform for a close inshore recovery. As the LOM arrived at the Station to discuss the launch with Poole’s extremely experienced Helms a ‘Cancel Launch’ page was received thankfully as the Police had recovered the individual.
At the station were a blearily eyed group of 17 crew including 6 Helms wrapped up in a mixture warm clothing and bed gear. No doubt at Swanage the same was occurring.
It’s at times like these when a crew is potentially asked to launch into extremely hostile and dangerous conditions that the sacrifices a crew and their families make is humbling. Thankfully the individual was recovered but who knows - it may be only a short while later that the same is asked of the Crew and they will respond with equal commitment.
Key facts about the RNLI
The Royal National Lifeboat Institution is the charity that saves lives at sea. Our volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service in the United Kingdom and Ireland from 238 lifeboat stations, including four along the River Thames and inland lifeboat stations at Loch Ness, Lough Derg, Enniskillen, Carrybridge and Lough Ree. Additionally the RNLI has more than 1,000 lifeguards on over 240 beaches around the UK and operates a specialist flood rescue team, which can respond anywhere across the UK and Ireland when inland flooding puts lives at risk.
The RNLI relies on public donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. As a charity it is separate from, but works alongside, government-controlled and funded coastguard services. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824 our lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved at least 140,000 lives. Volunteers make up 95% of the charity, including 4,600 volunteer lifeboat crew members and 3,000 volunteer shore crew. Additionally, tens of thousands of other dedicated volunteers raise funds and awareness, give safety advice, and help in our museums, shops and offices.
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The RNLI is a charity registered in England and Wales (209603) and Scotland (SC037736). Charity number 20003326 in the Republic of Ireland