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RNLI Torbay lifeboat crew on exercise in gale force winds

Lifeboats News Release

Two volunteer crews took turns aboard RNLI Torbay relief all-weather lifeboat Volunteer Spirit yesterday morning under the expert tuition of Coxswain Mark Criddle to undergo rough water training during gale force northeasterly winds battering Torbay.

Winds were blowing at gale force 8, gusting to storm force 10, during the two training exercises undertaken around a mile off Berry Head. Activities undertaken by all available volunteer crew included rigging fenders in poor conditions, familiarisation with harness locations on deck (harnesses are used to secure crew members to the lifeboat in rough seas) and ‘man overboard’ recovery procedures for Deputy Coxswains and crew.

Seat ‘damping’ procedures were also practised: these are crew seat adjustments (personalised for individual crew members’ weights) primarily intended to protect the occupant from the effect of extreme wave impacts. Potential injury (especially to the spine) can occur with severe jarring of seats on all-weather lifeboats during wave impacts, especially during the hours of darkness when impacts cannot be predicted by the crew member. A seat suspension or ‘damping’ system was previously developed with input from engineers, the RNLI and the Royal Navy to optimise shock absorption and comfort and help prevent any such injury.

As covered in yesterday’s press release (link given below) the first session was interrupted by a genuine call for help from ocean-going trawler Holly Ann, which had lost steering and needed assistance to return to port in Brixham.

Rough weather training with volunteer crew, led by the expert Coxswain and Deputies of Torbay lifeboat is absolutely vital to ensure all crew men and women are well prepared for any shout which may come in during extreme weather and familiar with handling the Severn Class lifeboat and her equipment during such conditions. The Torbay team always aim to take advantage of stormy weather to ensure crew training is kept up to date and completely realistic.

Notes to editors

Video credit: RNLI/Nigel Millard

Link to News Release 7.1.18 (Holly Ann):

Torbay Lifeboat Station Key Facts:

RNLI media contacts

For more information please telephone Victoria Bowen, RNLI Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer on 07794 043 428: or contact Carrie Garrad, RNLI Regional Media Officer on 07786 668 847: or alternatively RNLI Public Relations at Poole HQ on 01202 336 789.

RNLI/Nigel Millard

RNLI Torbay all-weather lifeboat during rough water training Sunday 7 January 2018

RNLI/Nigel Millard

Relief all-weather lifeboat Volunteer Spirit plunges in rough seas during exercise

RNLI/Nigel Millard

RNLI Torbay all-weather lifeboat volunteer crews brave force 8-10 winds for training

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