Saturday, 17 August 2013

RNLI Torbay Lifeboat Weekend 2013

We had a wonderful weekend supporting the activities of the local RNLI Lifeboat Station here in Brixham. The weather was brilliant and this year the programme of events was the best ever.

I took a tour of the Lifeboat on Friday. It was facinating stuff! The RNLI update and maintain the equipment to extremely high standards, believing in investing in the crew to save everyones lives. Just as well this is a charity and not government run-or else they'd have them rowing out in wooden boats as part of the budget cuts.

This is just inside the watertight cabin area immediately off the deck. The crew can treat casualties in here and you can see the seats have sports type seat belts and padding to keep you in place.

The pictures above show the control room-it's quite compact and all black to allow maximum vision at sea and to see the equipment. The seats are very comfortable again with serious strapping and padding.

 The outside of the control room

 The boat is in immaculate condition

Love these windscreen wipers!

Brixham has been the base for the Torbay lifeboat since 1866. In 1924 the Brixham Station was renamed Torbay. In 1866 the Lifeboat house cost £175 to build. In 2007 the cost to build a dedicated pontoon for the Severn Class cost over £600,000    

Over 30 volunteers now respond to the emergency call from Torbay. Over the years the crew have been awarded 27 medals.

There are two lifeboats at the Torbay Station, an inshore inflatable D class (named John William Hirst) and an all weather Severn Class (named Alec and Christina Dykes - below) which is the largest boat in the fleet and self righting.

For any petrol heads out there:
The Severn Class weighs 42 tonnes, length 17.3m width 5.9m, max speed 25knots and a range of 250 nautical miles, with two caterpillar marine 1350 hp diesel engines.

Monty Halls is a great supporter of and volunteer with the RNLI and will be attempting a record row of 70 miles from Dartmouth around the Eddystone Lighthouse and back with Rachel Cole. See more about this fund raising attempt here and The Grace Darling Memorial Row-an amazing story!

On Friday night we also went to see the 'Bands at the Breakwater' It was a great night out with Joey The Lips headlining in an open air concert.

On Saturday it was the wonderful Breakwater by Candlelight. I didn't take the camera as it was dark. I'm happy to say it was warm and still and the RNLI ran out of lanterns..but not before we got ours! The Breakwater looked beautiful with hundreds of candles lighting it up, twinkling away as people (over 250) walked the length to the lighthouse and back. It was such a friendly atmosphere with people of all ages taking part.

Sunday-SARs demonstration (Search and Rescue)

A fabulous event with the Torbay Team and so many others helping to put on a fantastic display.

So we sat on the Breakwater Beach with the crowds of people and I took lots of photos which I hope you'll enjoy.

 I have never seen so many people along the Breakwater-thankfully no-one fell off!
A crowded beach in the beautiful evening sunshine

A helicopter demonstration picking up and dropping off crew from the Severn Class Boat

They make it look so easy-Imagine doing this in rough seas

A simulation of a fire on board and the crew jumping out of the boat

This time two crew members are having a fight and wrestling each other off the boat and into the water

Here is the Class D inshore lifeboat speeding in to pick them up

If you watch the news or Seaside'll know this happens a lot. Inflatables leading people into currents and out into danger. So here is a rescue off the rocks.

And finally.... (oh at last I hear you cry) a few of the crew and boats working together

A speed past and goodbye from the crew of the Severn Class

We had a great time and although this was great fun to watch and a fabulous demonstration to please the crowds and raise money, it's quite exraordinary to think this is all done by volunteers and a charity.
Thank you RNLI


  1. They are truly amazing and brave people and deserve all the help they can get, as do air ambulance. Brilliant post! x

    1. When you see them hanging off netting to grab someone out of the water or dangling out of a helicopter, you see how much time they put into training too-as you say all these volunteer rescuers are amazing.

  2. I was fascinated by this, what a fantastic weekend! Your wonderful photos show something of the amazing job these volunteers do. I hope they always get the support they need.

    1. Thanks Wendy. It was a great show, well thought out and shows a little of what these guys do for real-imagine rough seas and pitch blackness, strapped into those seats and having just woken up! If you ever go to Poole in Dorset, the RNLI Training College is a great place to stay as they do b&b and all the profits go to the RNLI.

  3. So enjoyed your post - what a wonderful event and some brilliant photos too :) They do such sterling work and, as you say, thank goodness its not Govt run!!!!Thank you so much for sharing :)

    1. Glad you enjoyed it. The weather helped to make the whole weekend very successful for them. They did a crew cake raffle which was fun-the cakes were all sorts of shapes-fish, penguins, whales etc. They never stop fund raising and we buy an RNLI lottery ticket every season.

  4. Your post is a wonderful tribute to all those who volunteer for the RNLI and rescuing those at sea. We read in the paper about Monty Hall's and Rachel's forthcoming rowing attempt. Sadly our search and rescue helicopter based on Portland will be be shut in 2018 despite lots of protest. I fear for those needing to be rescued when the teams will have a much larger area to cover. The music on the beach and candlelight procession on the breakwater must have been wonderful. I hope lots of money was raised for this great cause.
    Sarah x

    1. Thanks Sarah, they ran out of candles, sold most of their lottery tickets, and had a very good weekend all round. The bands on the beach was a great party, such a lovely atmosphere too. They will be doing the Light up the Breakwater again next year as it was a huge success-so if you're planning a little trip to Brixham-save it for the next RNLI weekend and join in.


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