Visitors to Summerleaze beach in Bude this weekend (18-19 February) might be mistaken for thinking that there is a mass scale rescue underway. However, the source of all the action will be Bude’s volunteer lifeboat crew, taking advantage of the forecasted surf to undergo some rigorous training.
Chris Wilson, Bude’s volunteer Lifeboat Operations Manager says the training is fundamental to saving lives at sea:
‘Our lifeboat crew train together every week, at sea and ashore, with weekly training exercises focusing on teamwork, technical competence and safe operating procedures covering everything from boat-handling, search and rescue and navigation, to radio communications and casualty care.
‘Bude is one of a handful of unique lifeboat stations around the country that launches straight from the beach into breaking surf. After completing their assessments at the RNLI Lifeboat College in Poole, crew training in local conditions is essential.
‘The surf forecast for the weekend is about four to six foot, presenting a great opportunity for the crew to train together ahead of the season to practice and perfect these boat handling skills, meaning they are prepared for the real thing.’
The two day training session will cover both practical and theory exercises including Inshore Rescue Lifeboat handling; Rescue Water Craft launch and recovery, surf negotiation, casualty care, and capsize drill, with around 20 volunteer crew and shore crew getting involved.
‘Lifesaving work is essential, often difficult and sometimes dangerous and it’s crucial that the volunteer crew work effectively together in all kinds of extreme conditions. Training together over a weekend is the ideal opportunity to all get together as a team, take some time to socialise and to be able to thank our volunteers for the commitment and dedication that they give to both launching on shouts to people in need but also to the regular weekly training to ensure they have the skills and knowledge to do so.’