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Crew Training ‘Turning a Volunteer into a Life Saver’

Training forms a major part of becoming a lifeboat crew member and continues throughout the years of service.  Training is what turns a volunteer into a life saver and begins from the time that a volunteer first enters the lifeboat station. The first 12 months of service is spent as a probationary crew member. During this time it is expected that basic skills are mastered and the crew member becomes familiar with what is expected of him or her.

Training to be a lifeboat crew member takes a number of forms namely:

Local Training

Local Training

Day to day training is carried out at the lifeboat station on a Sunday morning and Thursday evening. Training lasts for approximately 2 hours during which time the lifeboat may go to sea on a training exercise. When at sea on exercise, the crew members carry out tasks to become familiar with the lifeboat and the equipment which is used. Various rescue scenarios are practiced including use of the Y boat, anchor and fire drills and the recovery of someone from the water.    Combined exercises with the local Coastguard and the RAF search and rescue helicopter crews are normal. Each individual crew members training requirements are closely monitored by the coxswain and observed periodically by the Area Training Assessor and RNLI Divisional Inspector.

Mobile Training

Mobile Training provides specialist training for crew members with the least disruption to work and family commitments. Mobile training is normally carried out within the classroom facilities that are provided within the specially designed mobile training units. Training is carried out to suit the crew member’s desires, normally in the evenings. Specialist training provided in is way covers such subjects as first aid, marine radio and navigation.Training provided in this way is very popular with crew

The Lifeboat College, Poole
This is the home of RNLI training. Crew members will attend the Lifeboat College at Poole periodically as their careers are developed. Specialist courses are available that are aimed at providing the expertise that cannot always be provided at home. Courses include boat handling, where crews receive a mix of practical training both at sea and within the specially developed simulator allowing extreme conditions to be experienced. Survival training is also provided within the specially built pool where all real life sea conditions may be replicated.
Amanda Gardiner prepares to launch the Y Boat.  This involves lifting the inflatable from the roof of the cabin using the hydraulic lifting arm   
  Findlay McKay and Liam Gray (with back to camera) prepare for an exercise involving the removal of a casualty from the beach.   
    When a casualty requires to be lifted from the water the ‘A’ frame is lowered from the side of the cabin into the lifting position.

The casualty, ALB Crew member Mike Rennie, is about to be lifted aboard by means of the pulley and strop.

The strop is placed under the casualty’s arms allowing him to be safely raised from the water.  Note the sunken well recessed into the deck that allows one of the crew members to work at a level nearer to that of the casualty.
    It is important that the coxswain and crew are familiar with the local coastline and the small harbours that are spread out along the Moray Firth coast.   
    The lifeboat is now heading for the small harbour of Portknockie..  Portknockie boasted a fleet of small fishing boats in years past.  Now the harbour is home to pleasure craft and a number of commercial vessels that land mainly crab and lobster.

A visit to these small harbours by the lifeboat ensures that that local knowledge of the harbour and its entrance are maintained.  It is likely that at some point in the future the lifeboat may require to return as part of a call out

Having returned to the harbour, Finday and Liam prepare to fuel the lifeboat

A charity registered in England and Wales (209603) and Scotland (SCO37736). Charity number CHY 2678 in the Republic of Ireland I RNLI (Trading) Ltd - 01073377, RNLI (Sales) Ltd - 2202240 and RNLI (Enterprises) Ltd - 1784500 are all companies registered at West Quay Road, Poole BH15 1HZ.

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