Wednesday, 11 July 2012

New lifejackets are officially handed over

It was a proud moment as Ollie and Yvette Miles went to Swanage Lifeboat Station to officially handover the new lifejackets to the volunteer crew, funded in memory of their late son Scott.

Ollie and Yvette had chosen to put the funds given in his memory to Swanage Lifeboat Station as Scotty always enjoyed being at sea and was a frequent visitor to station. The Swanage crew are delighted with the new jackets and have already tested them in some challenging conditions during some recent rescues.

The new lifejackets were designed through joint collaboration between the RNLI and the manufacturer to meet the charity’s current search and rescue requirements.

It was back in 1854 that an RNLI Inspector called Captain Ward invented a cork lifejacket that proved a lifesaver on numerous occasions. But since those days, the charity has always looked to advance and improve its safety equipment, from kapok lifejackets to Beaufort lifejackets and the present day design.

As Adrian Carey, RNLI Inspector for the South Division explains, the charity believes its volunteer crews deserve the best possible equipment:

‘We ask our volunteers to put themselves in difficult and dangerous situations and its only right that we provide them with the best equipment, whether they are lifeboat crew or the shore crews who help launch and recover the lifeboats.'

The Swanage volunteer lifeboat crew have already launched 17 times this year - 11 of these launches being during the months of May and June when our crews have faced some appalling conditions due the unseasonal gale force winds and rain that have lashed the coast and generated some large sea swells.

Volunteer Coxswain Martin Steeden said: ‘The new lifejackets are a great improvement, making it easier for us to operate in the sometimes difficult and uncomfortable conditions at sea. I have seen three different types of lifejacket during my 35 years on the crew and am pleased the RNLI continue to supply us with the best kit available.’