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‘How we save lives’: Behind the scenes of a Cromer RNLI ‘Shout’

PUBLISHED: 15:22 17 September 2018 | UPDATED: 15:22 17 September 2018

Part of the Cromer RNLI team. Picture: Cromer RNLI

Part of the Cromer RNLI team. Picture: Cromer RNLI

Cromer RNLI

In this column Audrey Smith from Cromer RNLI explains what happens when a lifeboat is called on to rescue those in peril on the sea...

Cromer RNLI launching its Tamar class lifeboat Lester. Picture: ARCHANT LIBRARYCromer RNLI launching its Tamar class lifeboat Lester. Picture: ARCHANT LIBRARY

It’s called many different things: a call-out, a rescue, a service Launch and a ‘Shout’, but whatever it’s called the aim is the same - to save lives at sea.

All operational volunteers at Cromer Lifeboat Station carry a pager so they can be alerted to a launch request for either the inshore or offshore lifeboat.

A launch request is usually received from the Coastguard, Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centre (MRCC), and will be directed to the Lifeboat Operations Manager (LOM), in his absence the Deputy Launching Authority (DLA) will be contacted.

With casualty details given, the MRCC and LOM will decide which is the best vessel to send, depending on the type of casualty, weather conditions, time of day and distance from station.

Cromer RNLI'S D-Class lifeboat. Photo: Chris GillCromer RNLI'S D-Class lifeboat. Photo: Chris Gill

With this information either the Coastguard or the LOM will set off the pager system which will then inform the station volunteers about the launch request, showing either “LAUNCH ALB” or “LAUNCH ILB” on the pager screen.

At this point the volunteers will make their way to the lifeboat station and prepare the vessel for immediate launch.

We have no special rights when driving and must abide by the road traffic laws, just like everybody else, though you may see cars with their headlights on full beam during the day and possibly sounding their horn, crew vehicles will normally have a crew sticker in the front window and sometimes a sign saying; EMERGENCY - LIFEBOAT CREW ON CALL.

The relevant casualty details will be passed to the Coxswain or Helmsman, depending on which lifeboat has been requested. A dynamic risk assessment and crew briefing will take place shortly before launching, so both boat and shore crew are aware of each others intentions and the lifeboat is then launched.

The RNLI Lifeboat Station.
Picture: ANTONY KELLYThe RNLI Lifeboat Station. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

While the lifeboat is at sea the crew at the station will determine roughly how long the lifeboat will be out and prepare for recovery accordingly.

If the lifeboat has been out for a long time the station crew will get a “Crew Assemble” pager message, in time to set-up for recovery of the returning vessel.

Once ashore the lifeboat will be re-fuelled, washed down, re-housed and made ready for service again.

For more information about the Cromer Lifeboat Station including how to volunteer, visit www.cromerrnli.org.uk

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