As Stonehaven RNLI gets their first operational year under their belt they head into the next year with lots of new and exciting changes to come.
The 47th Lifeboat station in Scotland is on a trial period for three years with the first proving a big success.
The town lost the RNLI lifeboat in 1984 and Maritime Rescue Institute took over. In 2013 the town was left without a rescue service after the Maritime Rescue Institute was forced to close following storm damage. With £90,000 funding from Nexen Petroleum UK the station looks set to become a permanent feature in the town.
In the last couple of weeks the RNLI have secured new premises for the lifeboat and crew which will mean that the boat and crew will all be able to be housed in the one place. The new premises at the Old Pier at the top of the slipway is the original lifeboat shed.
The Lifeboat is a B Class Atlantic 75 (due to it being 7.5m long) called the Jack and Joyce Burcombe. It operates closer to the shore, in shallow water and close to cliffs.
Since the station became operational last year the crew have responded to 12 call outs. These range from searching for a missing person, to over-turned boats and flares being seen.
Lorraine Clark from the RNLI said: “No call out is the same and the crew have been trained for these. Our crew are prepared to drop everything and risk their lives at a moment’s notice. Their lifesaving work is essential, often difficult and sometimes dangerous. Our crew train together twice a week, at sea and onshore.
“Their weekly exercises focus on teamwork, competence and safe procedures. And their training can include anything from boat handling, search and rescue and navigation to radar training, radio communications and casualty care. They also practice rescue scenarios involving other emergency services, such as the Coastguard services, Fire service and Ambulance service.”
The volunteer crew is made up of Lifeboat Operations Manager, Deputy Launching Authorities, Helms, Lifeboat Crew, Shore Crew, Press Officers and Boathouse Manager. The crew come from all walks of life including policemen, firemen, a dentist, a teacher and a few oil workers.
Volunteers work tirelessly raising funds for RNLI including doing coffee mornings, stalls at local events, wine tastina dn Ceilidhs.
Each year it costs over £140M to run lifesaving service. Lifeboat crew kit costs; Gloves £10, Boots £45, Waterproof trousers £249, Waterproof Jacket £349, Dry suit, including boots £750 crew, Thermal undersuit £225, Thermal Top £50, Lifejacket £368, Helmet £198
Lorraine added: “As a charity, the RNLI depend on people to help us meet the cost of saving lives at sea.
“Our volunteer lifeboat crew members give their time for free, but they need training, well-maintained equipment, lifeboats and shore facilities. Support from the public means our crews can save lives quickly, safely and effectively.”