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News Archive > General > RNLI crews train with helicopter

RNLI crews train with helicopter

By Simon Fernley 20th January 2016

RNLI crews train with helicopter

PASSERS-BY watched as Newquay RNLI lifeboat volunteers were involved in their first joint exercise with the new Coastguard rescue helicopter in Newquay Bay.

Taking place on Sunday morning (January 17), the exercise was the first opportunity for the charity’s volunteers to train alongside the new helicopter since the service became operational on January 1.

The purpose of the exercise was to familiarise both the RNLI lifeboat crew and the helicopter aircrew with the characteristics and layout of their colleagues’ respective craft and the operational procedures required to work safely together during emergency calls.

A total of nine RNLI volunteers were involved in this initial exercise, on the charity’s two inshore lifeboats, the D-class Enid Mary and the larger Atlantic 85 Gladys Mildred. 

During the hour-long exercise, the two teams carried out numerous transfers of the aircraft winchman and RNLI crews between the helicopter and both inshore lifeboats, whilst familiarising themselves with safety procedures, such as safe angles of approach, hover heights, safe working speeds, avoiding downdraft and no-go areas around the helicopter.

Newquay RNLI helmsman, Mark Morris, said: “Our RNLI volunteers are on call 24-hours-a-day and can be called to work alongside helicopter  crews at a moment’s notice during coastal emergencies, so regular training is essential for both teams.

“This was the first part of our lifeboat volunteers’ training programme with the new Coastguard rescue helicopter at Newquay, although we are fortunate to have an experienced RNLI team, many of whom have previously worked alongside the same type of aircraft during RNLI training from the Lifeboat College in Dorset.

“Many of our calls at Newquay lifeboat station involve rescuing people from challenging conditions amongst surf and rocks at the foot of cliffs, where our RNLI volunteers have to dynamically assess potentially dangerous situations and use their training to ensure the safety of everybody involved.

“This often involves working alongside rescue helicopters and Coastguard teams, so it is vital that the various emergency services train together regularly and are ready for the next call.”

A number of dolphins were spotted in the area during theduration of the exercise.
Subject to operational requirements and weather conditions, the next joint exercise between Newquay RNLI lifeboats and the Coastguard rescue helicopter in Newquay Bay is scheduled for 10am on Sunday (January 24). Supporters can follow www.facebook.com/
NewquayRNLI or www.twitter.com/NewquayRNLI for regular updates.

By Simon Fernley 20th January 2016

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