The Crew Dinner 2014
7pm on Fridy 7th February at The Cliffs Pavilion
A direct interest in local maritime safety is not mandatory for those
wondering about coming along to the above annual event. All that is needed
really is a good appetite, a healthy sense of humour and perhaps a little
inquisitiveness in just how the busiest coastal Lifeboat station in the
UK is supported.
Prepare for a very enlightening evening. The Southend Lifeboat crews will be present, along with guests from our flank stations, helicopter crews, Coastguards and many other friends. Lifeboating is a team event as you will see from the guest list on the night.
But fear not, you won't just be pelted with facts and figures all night about how busy we are! After dinner speeches from our Lifeboat Operationds Manager, our special guest of the evening and The Right Honourable Mayor of Southend, will finish the formalities and then you will be treated to the wit of returning comedian Ian Irving, who was a great success with the audience a couple of years ago.
There will be the opportunity to bid in an auction and/or buy raffle tickets if you would like to support us further. We have to let you out of the building at midnight however, so have no fears of being held for ransom.
If you would like to come along for a ticket price of £35, which includes the meal and automatic entry to a big raffle draw please email us at:  southend-on-sea@RNLI.org.uk   for a ticket purchase form. You can either make a table up for yourself and your guests, or alternatively we can arrange to set your seat for singles, pairs or smaller groups.
Closing date for tickets is 31st December 2013.All net proceeds to the RNLI.
A Massive Haul From Chelmsford Angling Association
Competition raises £1300 for the Lifeboat
When Ash, one of our Lifeboat crew, isn't out on the Lifeboats, he is often to be found on the banks of some lonely pond in some corner of Essex, often in the cold pouring rain attempting to catch fish and then throw them back in again. But don't feel sorry for him - he does this on purpose! Thankfully he also has quite a few friends who do the same and that relationship has yielded the RNLI some £1300 as the Chelmsford Angling Association elected to make the Lifeboat a beneficiary of their recent charity fishing competition.
Many thanks for the funds and to the sponsors of the competition DT Baits and Bevan Tackle and all who were part of this very successful event. Here is the official press release. Sounds like it was a lot of fun.
Sea Ranger Association
Sea Ranger Ship Solebay
The Lifeboats had been booked to visit our good friends at SRS Solebay for quite sometime now. The visit was not only to thank the members of the group who formed the Guard of Honour for HRH The Duke of Kent, but also for serving refreshments throughout the afternoon on our big Inshore Boathouse Opening Ceremony. The Rangers were fabulous and it really was the least we could do. Except there wasn't enough tide to get up the creek with both Lifeboats! So a Lifeboat crew where gathered and a presentation made at their Headquarters in Old Leigh. Our crew demonstrated the PPE we use and some very probing questions were fielded. Our crew were truly kept on their feet with such a well informed audience listening to every word.
The young ladies were certainly not phased by the pager technology we use - as our crewman Adam found out at 1:30 in the morning! His pager had been passed around the group and came back armed!! Just as well he needs the practice jumping out of bed.
The presentation ended with Group Skipper Karen Cruiks handing a cheque
over to our Hovercraft Pilot Mike for the RNLI for £150 raised by
selling cakes no less!
Thank you all very much for this and we hope (tide allowing!) that it is not too long before we can give you all a closer look at our Lifeboats.
Hovercraft Night Exercises
The Thursday night training crews are taking advantage of the early dark
evenings and are putting our pilots through some night time flying.
Never has the phrase 'Use the Force Luke' been more appropriate. Deprived of many visual references, at night, the pilot really learns to 'feel' the craft hover.
This is best first practiced on safe smooth terrain, where rather than worry about geography, the pilot together with his observant crew, can practice balancing the craft out on the wind through making a series of turns.
15 mins of this can feel like an hour, so we rotate the pilots and it's true to say one learns just as much from watching others.
So if the weather is fine, and it's a Thursday night - Watch out for us going around in circles in the estuary.
Official Crew Photo Just Printed
Southend Lifeboat Crew Photo
The Official crew photo has just been printed and framed and now hangs
proudly on the wall of our brand new Inshore boathouse.
Of course,getting absolutely everyone who should be in the photograph, is practically impossible, but we are so pleased that so many of our ranks were able to turn out for our Opening Ceremony back in July.
Already some of the crew in the shot have moved on whilst new volunteers have joined, such is the nature of life...boating!
Southend Busiest Coastal Station This Summer
Figures Just Out
The crews already knew as much but the boffins down in HQ can now officially
confirm that this summer Southend was some 25% busier than last year!
Read the full Press Release here with comments from our Regional Operations Manager, Andrew Ashton.
Mud Rescue Exercise With Fire Brigade
The Hovercraft crew was invited to take part in a multi-agency mud rescue
scenario off Canvey Island.
Well we jumped at the chance because this kind of exercise is so beneficial to everyone who takes part.The good news was that being held in the summer gave the weather the best chance for us to field the hovercraft itself. On the downside was the real possibility of getting an actual Shout mid-Exercise and also of course to be considered was the getting a group of volunteer crew together for the Exercise in the middle of the school holidays.
Anyway a few emails and phone calls later the crew were arranged and the Exercise was on.
On the day a mud patch chosen that was particularly sticky and the Fire Brigade were able to demonstrate the effectiveness of their mud mat 'stepping stone' technique to get to a mud bound casualty. When the Hovercraft parked up alongside nobody was left in any doubt as to how easy getting to the casualty scene our machine makes things.
It can make such a vital difference to get to a scene and not be worn out by just trying to get there (just ask any of our Lifeboat crew who have missed the buggy and had to cycle against the wind to get to the boathouse!).
The Exercise included some medical scenarios and a stretcher requirement thrown in just to get everyone thinking. All in all an extremely useful afternoon. But then of course back at station, long after our friends at Trumpton have washed down their mud mats and are making a brew, we were still washing down H-004 which would have taken ages! Thanks also to the Coastguard for taking part and we really hope it is not too long before we all meet up again for another joint Exercise. Photographs courtesy of Essex County Fire and Rescue Service.
Hovercraft on Countryfile
Julia Bradbury meets 'Captain' Whistler
Check out this recent episode of Countryfile where our very own newly promoted Michael Whistler talks to BBC tv's Julia Bradbury about the Hovercraft on the Broomway flats.
Busiest Weekend of the Year
Crews out all weekend.
The weekend duty Lifeboat crews were out all over the weekend as temperatures
peaked on Sunday. A good show of sunshine always raises the likelihood
of a shout. And so it was with the Hovercraft rescuing 27 people stranded
on the sand around the Mulberry Harbour.
They couldn't be all taken on one trip so our Pilot had his work cut out ferrying loved ones back to shore.
Not to be out done though was the Atlantic 75 crew at the end of the Pier. They had a sinking Catamaran to contend with. All in a days work though for our crews. Even nicer to report was no injuries apart from possibly a little too much sun in some cases. We should not complain - should we!!
More SOS than SAS
Thursday night training
This was sent into website HQ by an obvious inside whistleblower from crew training night. We all thought here that training nights were meant to be about serious hard drilling of SAR operations. We now learn the truth. It turns out it is all nothing but one big mud fight. This total sham will be investigated further and if more
comes to hand they will be published.
Sunday morning 19/5/13
Its not every Sunday morning that we get the opportunity to Exercise with not only our flank station Gravesend or Sea King 125 - let alone both at the same time!
And so it was on 19th May that our very good friends at Wattisham informed us that they could be in the area if we could get together a crew for a lifting scenario of a casualty with a broken leg from a floating vessel.
The Atlantic 75 played the part of the casualty vessel and Gravesend and Southend ILB2 were the 'RNLI' and observation platform for the combined Ex.
The Exercise ended with a formatting drill with the Helo running into the Easterly wind with the Lifeboats tracking underneath.
All in all an extemely big ask of my 300mm lens but a fantastic opportunity for all the crews involved.
Southend Lifeboat Ready for Action
The station is beginning to buzz now. It doesn't matter what day of the
week you put your head in - you meet someone different every time!
Many of us for years now have been doing the various paperwork which goes into keeping a Lifeboat station afloat at home. Slowly these jobs are being done more and more on station, which can only be a good thing.
It means others can see just what is going on which is just what a volunteer station the size of Southend needs.