RNLI Portishead Women Training to Save Lives At Sea

Lifeboats News Release

A busy couple of months have kept all of the RNLI volunteers busy with training and call outs. If you want to volunteer to be a crew member, brace yourself, it is not an easy ride!

1. Karolina during her training at the RNLI College in Poole, she is in the 6 o’clock position of the upturned Lifeboat, which is in the safety of the sea survival pool.

RNLI/Helen Lazenby

1. Karolina during her training at the RNLI College in Poole, she is in the 6 o’clock position of the upturned Lifeboat, which is in the safety of the sea survival pool.
The last few weeks however have been all about the women on the crew. Purely by chance it all started in July when Karolina Bate one of the trainee crew members at Portishead went off to complete the Crew Emergency Procedures course. All crew members have to complete this course, funded by Lloyd’s Register Foundation who have generously donated £1M, going directly towards the safety and welfare of our crew volunteers.

Karolina was certainly put through her paces. The course sees volunteer crew being trained in a variety of crucial subjects such as how to ‘abandon ship’ with a 4m jump into water, team survival swimming, coping in a life raft in simulated darkness, how to right a capsized inshore lifeboat, and the importance of lifejackets. It also covers emergency fire theory such as how to deal with fires aboard lifeboats, and practical sessions on the correct use of flares, fire extinguishers and throw bags.

No sooner had Karolina returned home, she was off to the RNLI College once again, this time with Susan Beaton, Kath Scott both qualified crew members and Emma Berger another of the trainee crew members. This time it was to learn about Casualty Care first aid and what to do when they are faced with injured casualties when arriving on scene during a call out scenario. This course has already come in handy to some of our crew members whilst out and about on land as well.

The last few weeks have seen the volunteers respond to a number of call outs, one of which included the Atlantic 85 Lifeboat, My Lady Anne launching on 27thJuly with Senior Helm, Ian (George) Lazenby taking 3 women crew with him for the first time. Susan Beaton, Kath Scott and Lu Shephard. Lu is also the newest trainee boat crew member at Portishead having trained for 12months as shore crew she was selected to start training as a boat crew member. Once she got through her medical, eye test and was fitted with her own kit she was ready for the new training regime and going to sea on the Lifeboat. With just a few weeks behind her, she found herself being selected as crew for this call out. Ian said ‘A vessel had lost power off of Black Nore point and required us to tow the vessel back to Portishead Quays Marina. It was a good shout for Lu to attend as it would be fairly straight forward and good practice for her. She worked well with the crew and proved herself to be a valuable crew member that day.’

Lu said ‘I’ve watched the crew prepare to launch so many times and are so well trained it was great to be selected for my first shout and to go out with them. It all happened so smoothly and I felt calm despite feeling a little nervous when actually on the Lifeboat. I don’t think it has sunk in yet really, there isn’t a divide between the crew and both men and women are treated equally so it didn’t occur to me that we launched as 3 women crew with George at the Helm until we returned to the Station. It was great to be part of the history and a huge privilege to be one of the 3 women on board. George, Susie and Kath were so supportive and encouraging throughout, I am just pleased all went well for the casualties we went to.’

Just the day before (26thJuly) the RNLI volunteers from Barry Dock with their all-weather lifeboat and Portishead crews were paged at the same time as reports had come in of another stricken vessel with a fire on board just at the mouth of the river Avon. RNLI volunteers were able to reassure the people on board that the fire was out and then towed them back to the safety of Portishead Quays Marina. One crew member was actually doing his shopping in Aldi in Portishead and a member of the public offered him a lift to the Station as he did not have a car and spotted that his lifeboat pager had gone off. Big thanks to the member of the public that helped Phil to the Station, he would love to offer you a cuppa next time you are passing the Station if we are there! Thanks also to Aldi for looking after his shopping for him, which he was later able to collect.

To watch footage of the call out with the 3 women crew members on board take a look at this link https://rnli.org/news-and-media/2018/august/01/portishead-rnli-assist-motor-vessel-with-no-power


RNLI notes to editors

All images are ©RNLI Portishead

  1. Karolina during her training at the RNLI College in Poole, she is in the 6 o’clock position of the upturned Lifeboat, which is in the safety of the sea survival pool.
  2. Lu Shephard, Ian Lazenby, Susan Beaton
  3. Kath Scott
  4. Casualty vessel the shout with Ian, Lu, Kath and Susan.
  5. A shot from a rough weather training session last week.
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Key facts about the RNLI

The RNLI charity saves lives at sea. Its volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service around the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland coasts. The RNLI operates over 230 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and has more than 200 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK. The RNLI is independent of Coastguard and government and depends on voluntary donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824 its lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved 140,000 lives.

A charity registered in England and Wales (209603) and Scotland (SCO37736). Charity number CHY 2678 in the Republic of Ireland
1. Lu Shephard, Ian Lazenby, Susan Beaton

RNLI/Helen Lazenby

1. Lu Shephard, Ian Lazenby, Susan Beaton
Kath Scott

RNLI/Helen Lazenby

Kath Scott
1. Casualty vessel the shout with Ian, Lu, Kath and Susan.

RNLI/Helen Lazenby

1. Casualty vessel the shout with Ian, Lu, Kath and Susan.
A shot from a rough weather training session last week

RNLI/Helen Lazenby

A shot from a rough weather training session last week

Key facts about the RNLI

The RNLI charity saves lives at sea. Its volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service around the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland coasts. The RNLI operates over 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and more than 240 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK and Channel Islands. The RNLI is independent of Coastguard and government and depends on voluntary donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824, its lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved over 142,700 lives.

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Members of the public may contact the RNLI on 0300 300 9990 (UK) or 1800 991802 (Ireland) or or by email.