Maritime Volunteer Service and Eastbourne Lifeboat team up to practice saving lives

RNLI exercise Eastbourne
RNLI exercise Eastbourne

Life saving voluntary groups teamed up to practice saving people at sea in a vital training exercise.

The Maritime Volunteer Service (MVS) training vessel East Sussex 1 and the Eastbourne all-weather and inshore lifeboats joined forces during April.

The MVS boat was sailing from Eastbourne to Newhaven when it ‘hit rocks’ and RNLI crews then had to find and help the ship.

Petty officer volunteer Tim Apps, from the MVS, said: “Exercises like these are valuable training opportunities for our members.

“Being able to work effectively with the RNLI is an important skill for our skippers and crews.

“Over the late May Bank holiday East Sussex 1 will be a support vessel for the 50 plus ‘Little Ships’ when they return to Dunkirk to commemorate the evacuation from the beaches there 75 years ago.

“We will be working closely with the Ramsgate Lifeboat and our exercises with the RNLI here at Eastbourne are invaluable preparation for dealing with real emergencies.”

A realistic scenario was created on the East Sussex 1, which included several ‘casualties’ below decks, with various injuries for the lifeboat crews to assess and treat.

One MVS volunteer took on the role of an agitated crew member.

And the East Sussex 1’s man overboard exercise dummy was thrown into the water. It was quickly retrieved by the Lifeboat’s crew.

The RNLI team used a new water transfer pump to simulate pumping out a flooded compartment and then towed the boat to safety.

Lifeboat coxswain Mark Sawyer added: “I would like to say how beneficial these joint exercises are for training our volunteer crews so that they are prepared to deal with any life threatening incidents that they may be called to and encourages the volunteer ethos of both organisations assisting mariners at sea.”

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