When one thinks of lifeboat stations and their crews, the first thought is of a boat – but, before it can launch, rigorous training needs to take place.
A three-day intensive training exercise for the crew at Rye Harbour RNLI was meticulously planned by the deputy training co-ordinators Sharon Gozna, Matt Ellis and helm Tony Peters. Matt Cridland and Dave Needham were training, assessing and signing off where appropriate.
To be able to go out on a boat as crew, there are more than 30 modules to be given the green light. It is a big commitment and a great deal of new knowledge to absorb.
Having gained five new crew recruits in the last two months, this training was perfectly timed, as now they are ready to man the boat during a shout.
This strengthens the team at Rye Harbour, especially as they are available during the week in daytime hours.
The dedication and commitment to the tasks they were accomplishing was palpable. There was a constant buzz of activity in the crew room and the team on all three levels – new recruits, those due for pass-out as competent crew and designate helms – were able to tick boxes throughout the day.
This exercise work helps fulfil the ‘Spring 2019 Aims’ of the station – to get two helms passed out, three existing trainees complete for crewing the boat and ensure that the five new recruits are competent for service.
To enable the boat to go out so many times during training, the shore-based crew was on-hand throughout the three days, giving up a great deal of their time they would usually spend with their families.
The RNLI’s work is based on and driven by its core values:
• Selflessness: the willingness to put the requirements of others before their own, and the needs of the team before the individual.
• Dependability – being available at all times.
• Trustworthiness – being accountable at all times.
• And courage – being prepared to achieve the aims of the RNLI in changing and challenging environments.
The crews are determined in their mission to save more lives at sea. The intense training was based on these values and the teamwork in evidence reinforced this.
Summing up the three days, Matt said: “A great turn-out for a small station. The crew was motivated and committed to their training and the training of others where they could assist. Our time as trainers and assessors was used well as one module of training dovetailed into another. In some cases we were working with groups of five at a time and this gave us more time to spend on individuals where needed. It was a really valuable use of our time and it was great to see such dedication.”
Stuart Clark, one of the new recruits, said the training had allowed him to progress quickly and cover multiple modules in a short time. There were many opportunities to go out on the boat and put classroom theory into practice.
In all there were 45 modules signed off and a great deal of training was accomplished.
Tony Edwards, Lifeboat Operation Manager, said: “It was great to see the team coming together and moving forward with their individual training, thus strengthening the station. It is important to remember that these men and women are volunteers and give so freely of their time to keep people safe and save lives at sea. The commitment and dedication they showed by changing work shifts and missing family time was commendable.”
Words and photos by Kt Bruce.