Friday, 29 April 2016

Boathouse update - roof structure now complete

Sorry for the lack of posts on the progress of the boathouse, we've been a bit busy with boat stuff.

There's been a lot going on. The carpenters have been busy finishing off the timber on the roof.
You can really see the shape of the building now. The stone and block work is also coming on well too.

The roof light in the main boat hall is due to go in next week which will then make the building watertight.

Friday, 22 April 2016

Our Mersey leaves Swanage for the final time at 2pm today

At 2pm today retiring Coxswain Martin Steeden, Assistant Mechanic Colin Marks and a selection of long serving crew members will take our Mersey class all weather lifeboat ‘Robert Charles Brown’ out of Swanage Bay for the final time and return her to RNLI Headquarters in Poole. That marks the end of her time here in Swanage.
Since arriving in Swanage in May 1992 she has saved countless lives and helped hundreds and hundreds of people. We’ll publish her full stats soon.

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Its official, we're now an @RNLI Shannon station!

Today's the day that our brand new Shannon class lifeboat 'George Thomas Lacy' officially enters service as Swanage Lifeboat. After months of preparation, trials and training our Divisional Operations Manager, Nigel Jones has officially put the boat on service from 9pm on Weds 20th April 2016. Over the last few days he has been to sea on exercise with a good selection of the crew and is more than happy to put the boat on service.
Our Mersey 'Robert Charles Brown' will remain on the mooring in Swanage for a few days before being taken to Poole by retiring Coxswain, Martin Steeden. It is thought that she will be used as part of the RNLI's training fleet that operates from the RNLI College in Poole so we'll still see her around for some time yet.

Monday, 18 April 2016

Shannon training - 4 days consolidation done, passout next

The last ten days have been pretty intensive for the Swanage volunteers but all that Shannon training is now done.
The next thing on the list is a series of operational passouts with our Divisional Operations Manager and our Divisional Technical Manager. Once they're both happy 'George Thomas Lacy' will be officially placed on service as Swanage Lifeboat. That is likely to happen this coming week.

We'll keep you posted!

Thursday, 14 April 2016

Shannon training - 4 days afloat training done, 4 days consolidation next

Our Shannon training continues at a pace with our volunteers taking time off work to do a full day of training at sea. Each crew member will have to do a minimum of 2 days afloat, 1 day training and 1 day consolidation.
The crew would set off from Swanage at 9am, head up towards The Solent carrying out various drills on the way. The crew will swap roles giving them experience on the helm, the radar and the electronic navigation system.
A brief stop for lunch, such as the top picture in Yarmouth or here in Cowes and its time for more drills and a passage back to Swanage.

Next we have 4 days consolidation with one of the RNLI's staff Coxswains. These days will be more about the crew just doing drills rather than being trained in them. This is the final push to ensure that the crew are ready for an operational passout with our Divisional Operations Manager and our Divisional Technical Manager next week.

Friday, 8 April 2016

PCT day 5 = done. Wow what a welcome in Swanage!

The final day of PCT is all about the trip to station. Little did we know how big a crowd of people would be waiting for us in Swanage.
The boat was clean, the crew smart and the sun shining!

We left Weymouth just after 10am and were soon back in familiar territory. After a quick cup of tea it was time to meet up with our current lifeboat, our ILB and a great flotilla of boats that came to take us in to Swanage.
Then after a few demonstrations we tied up on the pier and we were finally home.
More training for the rest of the crew over the coming days. We'll keep you posted.

Thursday, 7 April 2016

PCT day 4 = done. Alongside in Weymouth ready to head to Swanage tomorrow

Day 4 started with a few 'problems' with the boat that had been set up by Martin our instructor. With all the problems solved we headed out in to the Solent to do some more drills.
The first drill was a simulated fire onboard that was soon dealt with. Unfortunately the 'fire' caused some problems with the electronic steering and throttle system. This meant another drill for the mechanic to connect the emergency throttle and use the emergency water jet control system.
With that complete a short hop to Cowes for some more boat handling practice and lunch.

After lunch a route was plotted to Weymouth to refuel, wash the boat down and clean her up ready for the trip home to Swanage tomorrow.
She looks small moored up next to Weymouth's Severn class. After a good clean up and 1100 litres of fuel we moved over to our berth for the night and shut the boat down.
We're really looking forward to bringing 'George Thomas Lacy' to Swanage, see you tomorrow at midday!

PCT day 3 = done. A long day finishing in Portsmouth

Day 3 of the PCT is the final day of the RNLI College based training and the start of the passage back to station. For us the passage back to station takes about 40 mins so we needed to come up with a plan to get some more sea time in. The first part of the day was spent going over the alarms on the boat and what to do in the event of an emergency such as a fire onboard or flooding.
Then the boat was loaded up and we set off under the 14:30 bridge out of Poole.
We then headed towards The Solent to meet up with the two RNLI Lifeboats from Portsmouth for an exercise. On the way we took advantage of the lumpy conditions off The Needles to do a little bit of rough weather boat handling.
We met up with the crew from Portsmouth, let them have a quick look over the boat then headed out to sea to do some drills. After that we made our way in to Portsmouth harbour in the dark for our overnight stay. We finally got off the boat around 10pm, a good day but a long one!

Tuesday, 5 April 2016

PCT day 2 = done and the Dorset flag has been flown.

Day 2 is done, a day at sea doing drills and emergency procedures.

The flags were raised just after 9am and the ropes cast off to go under the 09:30 lifting bridge.
Us with the training team
Once out in open water we went through lots of drills including, man overboard, fire onboard, flooding, engine failure, electrical failures, electronics failures and steering failure.
Sorting out faults in the engine room.
Trying some different techniques for recovering a man overboard.

Then back in to Poole Harbour and back to the college.
Then moored her up safely at the college pontoon for the night.

Another full day at sea tomorrow. We'll be leaving Poole at lunchtime then heading to Portsmouth covering more of what we covered today and doing some exercises in the dark.

Monday, 4 April 2016

PCT (pre-commissioning training) day 1 = done

So day one of our PCT (pre-commissioning training) is done.

We've covered boat design and layout, machinery, electronics, stowages, equipment and safety systems.
Photo shows Assistant Mechanic, Matt Steeden at the aft end of the engine room. As you can see there's not a lot of head room in the engine room but there is plenty of working space around the engines.

We'll have a full day at sea tomorrow so keep an eye out for us if you're in or around Poole Harbour.

Final Shannon training starts today.

The final and biggest piece of Shannon training starts today. Our new boat is waiting at RNLI HQ in Poole for 5 of our crew to start a week of training before taking her to Swanage for the first time on Friday.
Once in Swanage the rest of the crew receive training over the following 10 days.

We'll keep you posted!

Sunday, 3 April 2016

Our new Shannon, what's with all the 13s?

One of the most common questions we're getting at the moment is "Aren't you worried about your new boat having 13-13 on it?"
In short no we're not worried about it, for one, we didn't get the choice! Also the number 13 crops up all over the boat.

  1. She's 13 metres long, hence the first 13 in her number
  2. She's the 13th of the class to be built, hence the second number
  3. The scania engines are 13 litres each
  4. There are 13 electronic switch boxes onboard
  5. The fuel tanks are 13 hundred litres each
  6. She will be the 13th lifeboat to be stationed at Swanage
  7. The total horsepower is 13 hundred (2 x 650) - Thanks to M Pitman for this one
There are bound to be more 13s, we'll let you know when we find more.

Don't forget to come and join us on Friday 8th April at noon on Swanage Pier when the new boat will come in to Swanage bay for the first time.