Crew Training – February

Training for all crew in the RNLI is on-going with various approaches used from regular exercises locally to visits to the RNLI Training Centre in Poole, Dorset. In addition the RNLI have a bank of experienced trainers and assessors who come out to the station and spend a few days with crew both providing training and assessing capability for specific roles eg: Tractor Driving, Helmsman, Navigation, First Aid etc.

In February we had a week of their valuable time and experience – click on the links below to view some of the photo’s from the training:


The helmsman is in charge of the lifeboat and makes all the key decisions when out on a shout. Training for this role is extensive requiring detailed knowledge of all aspects of the lifeboat operation as well as the capabilities of the crew. When we get a shout information is usually very sketchy and its only when getting to sea that the picture starts to emerge of what the crew need to deal with. It can be a straightforward job towing a yacht or small boat in calm conditions to an emergency rescue of a person in difficult seas that needs urgent medical attention and possible evacuation at sea by helicopter.  As a result training for this role requires considerable experience as a crew member plus extensive training for the role and real dedication by the volunteer undergoing it.

Following extensive assessment during the weeks training congratul;ations go to Sean Sale was    passed out as a new helmsman for the station.

Notes re lifeboat tent! mentioned in slideshow:

The tent is used to simulate fog and is closed up when the exercise is started. Both navigation and communications are isolated from the outside and have to work entirely on instruments and give instructions to the helmsman as how to proceed plus relevant information. The helmsman has to follow their instructions to the letter. Its an exercise in team working and reliance on each other to do their job plus dealing with an operation in a difficult environment. Very challenging for all crew involved.

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Tractor Driver Training:

Without a suitably trained tractor driver available when we get a shout we cannot launch – as a result on station we try to have a bank of trained drivers available and additional ones gaining experience. Its not just a case of going down to the slipway and launching the boat – conditions vary tremendously at New Brighton from flat calm to raging sea. We can also launch from different locations – the main one being the Victoria Slipway just past the Floral Pavillion. There are also areas of soft sand and mud which can cause the launch trailer and on occassion our tractor to get stuck. As a result our drivers need to be able to know how to resolve such situations. The rig itself is large and takes considerable skill and judgement on behalf of our drivers to negotiate the busy streets of New Brighton to get to our launch sites in the shortest time.

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