Brand new lifeboat crew kit goes on service to help save lives
The first sets of the RNLI’s brand new crew kit has now gone on service, with volunteers at Chiswick and Tower lifeboat stations on the Thames being the first lifesavers to don the new kit, which is supplied by Helly Hansen.
Earlier in 2018 the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) announced a lifesaving partnership with the Norwegian brand that will support the charity’s aim of defeating drowning.
Helly Hansen was announced as the RNLI’s new supplier of all-weather lifeboat crew clothing earlier this year, providing specially designed kit to meet the demanding needs of the charity’s volunteer crews.
The new kit is lighter, more comfortable and designed to allow greater freedom of movement than the kit it is replacing and it will ensure the charity’s volunteer crew members have the very best kit to wear when they go out to sea in all weathers.
The first sets of the new all-weather crew kit have gone on service this week, with crew members at Tower and Chiswick lifeboat stations on the Thames being the first to wear the impressive new gear.
The new kit will be rolled out to a further 128 all-weather lifeboat stations across the UK and Ireland.
Specially designed with the RNLI to ensure it meets the demanding needs of the RNLI’s volunteer crews, the new kit uses state of the art waterproof and breathable Helly Tech fabric which provides increased comfort compared to the previous non-breathable fabric of the old kit. The light but strong kit is reinforced for exposed areas and its technical layering system ensures crew members will keep warm and dry while out at sea.
The kit comes in a wide range of sizes and has bespoke designs to fit both male and female crew members, unlike the kit it is replacing. The new bib, midlayer and baselayer garments have a specific fit for female crew members, enabling better comfort and freedom of movement.
As part of the strategic partnership with the RNLI, Helly Hansen has committed to supporting the RNLI for the next five years through a variety of life-saving activities. These include delivering drowning prevention messages to their customers, generating income, supporting fundraising and safety campaigns, product innovation and supplying the very best kit to the RNLI’s lifesavers.
Alice Higgins, volunteer at Weymouth Lifeboat Station, was one of 60 crew members from six lifeboat stations across the UK and the Republic of Ireland who trialled the new Helly Hansen gear. She said: ‘The new all-weather lifeboat kit is absolutely fantastic. It’s much lighter than the old kit and uses breathable fabric, which is ideal for the more demanding tasks we often need to carry out. While trialling the kit it was great to find out that it kept you both warm and dry, even while out at sea in some harsh conditions.
Tower Lifeboat crew is the busiest RNLI Lifeboat Station and in 2017 launched 486 times, aided 153 and saved 10 lives. The Chiswick Lifeboat crew are also one of the busiest launching 177 times, aiding 112 and saving 1 life.
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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 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