May 23, 2016
Surprise RNLI exercise for Burnham-On-Sea supporters

Burnham-On-Sea RNLI's management and volunteers organised a special 'meet the crew' event for local fundraisers and shop volunteers.

This was no 'tea and cake' affair, however, for unknown to the Burnham lifeboat crew members and supporters there was a surprise exercise planned - the objective being to demonstrate how the station operated during call-outs.

At around 7.30pm, the pagers alerted 'launch both boats' for exercise only and the crew sprang into action, donning dry-suits and prepping the boats for a immediate launch.

The scenario was that a fisherman had been seen falling into the water on Burnham beach and subsequently swept away by the strong incoming tide. For realism, 'Dead Fred', the lifeboat station rescue dummy, was thrown into the water an hour before - suitably eqipped with a lifejacket and GPS tracker because rescue dummies are expensive.

Both boats were launched and the crewmembers proceeded to carry out a series of standard search patterns.

At each stage of the exercise, a member of station management was on hand to explain the process to the gathered crowd of supporters. Eventually, when the rescue dummy was located, the crews returned both lifeboats to Burnham beach for recovery, and a very muddy wash down back at the station.

Shop volunteer Sandra King said: "I had a wonderful unexpected evening! Went along to the Lifeboat station for what was to be a 'meet the crew' evening for the new volunteers and they staged a surprise rescue exercise especially for us but without telling the crew! It gave a good insight into the amazing work that they do and when we left at 9.50pm they were still trying to wash the mud off!"

Organizing lifeboat crewmember Nathan Meager added: "All the supporters seemed very positive about the evening and the crew seemed to have found it fun and useful too. The crew and some of the supporters were keen to have a night when they actually got to meet so we will arrange this for a future date."


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