Photo by Sean Mantey
Successful rescues are all about teams working together and this happens even before the lifeboat has been launched. The lifeboat crews and shore helpers all work together to make sure the lifeboat is launched safely.
As the crew are getting kitted up the launchers get ready to take the lifeboat out to sea. If it’s an inshore lifeboat, a driver is needed for the tractor, all-terrain vehicle (ATV) or land rover, which pulls the lifeboat, and sometimes a number of launchers are needed to help the crew get the lifeboat through the waves and surf.
If it’s an all weather carriage-launched lifeboat then a tractor driver and a whole team of launchers are needed to guide the lifeboat across roads, sand or from a shingle beach into the surf. On a slipway-launched lifeboat the head launcher, using a hammer, knocks the pin out of the cable that holds the lifeboat poised at the top of the ramp. If the lifeboat lies afloat in the harbour then the crew will get into a boarding boat and motor out to her.
The average time to launch a lifeboat is seven minutes for an inshore lifeboat and 12 minutes for an all weather lifeboat.
… but sometimes things don’t go according to plan:
I wasn’t sure they would make it… then they laid into the reverse power. Brilliant.
Here’s what happens when the RNLI doesn’t quite make it to sea: