Hi-tech life-saving training for Blackpool RNLI lifeboat team volunteers

Jacob Castle and Ben Gilliam at the RNLI centre
Jacob Castle and Ben Gilliam at the RNLI centre

Two new volunteer crew members at Blackpool RNLI lifeboat station have just completed a vital training course in life-saving skills.

Jacob Castle and Ben Gilliam, from Blackpool, recently travelled to RNLI College in Poole, Dorset, to finish a trainee crew course.

I am not from a nautical background so this training has really helped to prepare me for the huge variety of rescue scenarios that I am likely to face as an RNLI volunteer

The important part of their training was funded by the Lloyds Register Foundation.

A key part of the course was the sea survival element, which enables new volunteer crew to be trained in a variety of possible dangers.

Jacob and Ben were trained in how to abandon ship with a four metre jump into freezing water.

They were also taught skills in team survival, swimming and coping in a liferaft in simulated darkness.

Other parts of the course included tuition in how to deal with fires aboard lifeboats; how to right a capsized inshore lifeboat; and the importance of lifejackets.

Training took place in the Sea Survival Centre at the charity’s college, which includes a 25m wave-generating survival tank, allowing trainees to experience first-hand some of the scenarios they may encounter at sea should they ever need to abandon their vessel.

Jacob, who volunteers as an inshore lifeboat crewmember, said: “Ben and I had an amazing time at the RNLI lifeboat college in Poole, the facilities and training are incredible and we both learned a great deal.

“I am not from a nautical background so this training has really helped to prepare me for the huge variety of rescue scenarios that I am likely to face as an RNLI volunteer.”

RNLI volunteer lifeboat operations manager, Keith Horrocks MBE said: “The support given by foundation is hugely important to the RNLI. We are extremely grateful that it has chosen to fund sea survival training, which teaches vital core skills to our volunteer crew.

“This training is central to allowing the RNLI and its volunteers to stay safe while on rescue missions. It equips volunteers with essential sea survival skills; providing them with the courage, poise and self-confidence to save lives even in the most perilous seas.”