Published on May 30th, 2018 | by West Mersea RNLI

Lifeboat May 2018 News

West Mersea Lifeboat news.
by Leafy Dumas, Lifeboat Press Officer. May 2018

Just George, the West Mersea Lifeboat, launched more times on shouts than on exercises last month – a sure sign that the summer boating season is hotting up. Training sessions continue with some of our helmsmen being put through their paces on Command Navigation. Members of the Guild are also keeping busy with tireless fundraising work, which last month included hunting for snakes on a Welly Walk.

Command Navigation
Whenever Ady Barker (our RNLI Divisional Assessor Trainer) darkens our door we know some serious training is imminent. He came to visit recently and oversaw an exercise in which our helmsmen were assessed on their Command Navigation competence. This is about testing the helmsman’s ability to get the boat from A to B in restricted visibility. In a normal situation the helmsman drives, but Command Navigation requires him to sit behind, navigate using the radar and/or other instruments, and give instructions to a colleague in the driving seat. So the lifeboat is driven by a crewmember who cannot see ahead, but follows commands from the helmsman in the nav seat behind. Coming through the moorings this way is quite a feat, especially with the added pressure of an assessor from RNLI HQ aboard.

The practice is all about working together in restricted visibility, but unable to summon fog when we needed it, we had to make do with glorious sunshine.

Snakes Alive!
The Welly Walk in May was also a lovely day. Walkers gathered for a ranger-led walk at Cudmore Grove in aid of our RNLI lifeboat. Thank you to all of you who came along to help the charity and to Dougal Urquhart, the park ranger, for his interesting and knowledgeable guidance. Walkers were all the wiser for Dougal’s insights into rare moths, snakes, birds, grass control and even the design concept of the new play park (which includes hippos because their remains have been found in the Cudmore cliffs). £70 was raised and a happy time was had.

Jet Ski Struggle
On Friday 4th May a jet skier had engine trouble off Waldegraves Caravan Park and called 999. We launched immediately to come to his assistance, but he managed after all to paddle his craft back to the shallows himself. We arrived on scene and stood by until he was safely ashore.

Broken Motorcruiser
On Friday 11th May 2018 the station was busy with workmen (one RNLI electrician and another fitting a new bolt to the boathouse door) and 60 children on a school visit from St Albans. Excitement reached unprecedented levels as our pagers went off ‘for real’, the children stepped aside and we launched on a shout.

We were called to a 28ft motorcruiser broken down near St Lawrence Bay. We took the casualty vessel in tow to Bradwell Marina and left her crew in the safe hands of the South Woodham Coastguard Rescue team.

Watch out children – this is the third time we have been called to launch on service during a school visit!

Midnight Malarkey
On Saturday 12th May 2018 we were paged at ten to midnight for immediate launch to a report of a person in the water at Brightlingsea jetty. It took us 8 minutes from the pagers going off to launching the lifeboat, which felt pretty speedy seeing as we had all been at our homes fast asleep in bed.

Upon arrival the casualty was ashore with the police and ambulance service on scene. The lifeboat was not needed so we were stood down and wearily returned to the station. And back to our beds.

Shop and Station Open
Our little station shop and the station itself continues to open its doors to visitors for the summer season. Open on Saturdays, Sundays and bank holidays between 11.30am and 4pm. Do pop in, come and see our lifeboat and visit the shop. You might even catch a passing crewmember.


Key facts about the RNLI

The RNLI operates 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and has more than 240 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK. The RNLI is independent of Coastguard and government and depends on voluntary donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824 its lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved over 142,200 lives.

Charity number CHY 2678 in the Republic of Ireland and registered in England and Wales (209603) and Scotland (SC037736)

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