Whitley Bay Explorer Scouts recently traveled down to the Cullercoats RNLI Lifeboat Station. The RNLI (Royal National Lifeboat Institution) are well known for the life-saving charity work that they carry out on the coastlines of the UK. Cullercoats have a crew of approximately 25 people, however despite their size manage to cover much of the local coastline.
The visit to the RNLI began with a short presentation about what the RNLI do and about the Cullercoats station, and told us about the dangers of mistreating the sea, for example, Tombstoning (Jumping off of cliffs) and traumatic events such as the tragedy of the late Caitlin Ruddy and Others that have been hurt or killed by bad storms.
Next we were taken to see the kit how quickly they must be to put on all the layers, and all the lifesaving equipment they carry on them to go into the water. Our leader, Katie Willis, staged as a model for the suit, however her timing was below the RNLI’s strict standards. Following that, we were taken downstairs to see the Lifeboat and the tractor.
We learnt about all the interesting features of the boat such as the navigation system, the high visibility colouring of the boat, so that it can be seen though fog or bad weather, and the extensive maintenance needed for is upkeep. They also showed us the 10-tonne tractor, with a rotating seat and the homemade safety procedures.
To finish the tour, we were taken into the room which they used as their main headquarters before the extension of the station. About 30 explorers were crammed into a tiny room, which is now considered an office, and told about the extensive tasks that were undertaken in such a restricting space. There, we were also told about the methods of searching and rescuing people from the shores, even before the information if given to them from the coastguard, proving their fast thinking crucial action.
The tour taken is available for all scouting groups, and can give an important message to all age groups. It is also possible to join the RNLI, as they hold sessions every Wednesday and Sunday, whether it be for Duke of Edinburgh or just for your own enjoyment.
Written by The WBES Media Team.