Smile! You can now support us (at no cost to you) through Amazon

Good news this week! As a charity, we’re now fully signed up members of Amazon Smile, so any purchases made which include us as the nominated charity will mean Amazon make a donation to us.

Pett Level Independent Rescue Boat Assn.

A full how-to page is coming soon in our Fundraising section, but in the meantime, please do have a go via Smile.Amazon.

Our charity account is detailed as Pett Level Independent Rescue Boat Assn.  This title is important, even down to the full-stop at the end of Assn. because without this you won’t find us when trying to set us as your nominated charity for donations.

This fund-raising method is great for all of us because it doesn’t cost you anything – it’s Amazon who make the donation out of the purchase price of eligible purchases.

So if you’re going to be doing your Black Friday or Christmas shopping on Amazon, please do think of us!

Mayday Shout after training

On Sunday 22nd October 2018, just as our morning training session was coming to an end, Pett Level Independent Rescue Boat was tasked by Solent Coastguard to attend at a location in the Dover Strait. Instructions given were that a diver had failed to surface following a group dive on a local wreck.

At 11:54am, with a response time of less than 10 minutes, our John and Mary Pulfer boat was launched  with an experienced three-person crew: Andy Crompton, Shaun O’Hara and Isaac Dyer.

Also part of the search were both Hastings lifeboats (their new 13-28 boat as well as their older boat) and Eastbourne lifeboat.  Professional colleagues who we were with earlier in the week, the helicopter team from HM Coastguard Maritime Search and Rescue at Lydd, were also scrambled and in attendance. Other vessels in the immediate area, including local fishing boats and a private boat also assisted in the search.

The search location was 8 miles out to sea, with an approximate bearing to the Ecclesbourne Glen area of the coast. Sea conditions had been very calm and flat earlier in the morning whilst training, but from approximately noon it became breezier out in the Dover Strait, although conditions remained fair.

Once they reached the search location, the crew took part in parallel searching with other vessels. Parallel searching allows a significant area could be closely covered in the search for the missing diver, whilst the Search and Rescue helicopter team conducted an aerial search of the area. 

 

Back at base, the onshore crew moved into comms and contingency planning, including monitoring and calculating the fuel situation for the boat involved in the search. As a precaution, the smaller Tornado boat was refuelled and additional fuel canisters filled, so the Tornado could be launched to take fuel out to the Pulfer boat. This would allow the larger boat to refuel without having to return to base.

As these type of searches often continue until dusk, additional helm and crew members were also put on standby. This way, the Tornado boat would also be able to take other crew out on the same run, for a crew change, as required.

In the event, this was not necessary as our vessel was stood down around 3 p.m. and our crew returned safely to the boathouse for a full debrief.

The overall operation was stood down at 17:30 BST, as reported by BBC Sussex:

Sainsbury’s Station Plaza putting *fun* into fundraising

Saturday 20th October 2018 was Regional Fundraising Day for Sainsbury’s, as part of their campaign to support local charities. And as Pett Level Independent Boat is the chosen charity for Sainsbury’s at Station Plaza, Hastings, we were invited along to the store to set up a stall and put a bit of fun into local fundraising!

 

Our mannequin has been in the store for a couple of months now, fully kitted out with suit and lifejacket, to help publicise Sainsbury’s support of the PLIRB.

 

As well as this, for Saturday’s event a gentle tide of crew members came and went across the day, running our stall set up in-store and offering information, freebies such as pens, pencils and key rings and some of our lovely calendars for sale. In this particular photo we have three Johns at the helm of the stall!


Collection boxes for donations were of course also available. A final count-up of the box on our stall revealed a £65 generously donated by people who stopped to chat to us and take an interest in our work.


Meanwhile, our friends at Sainsbury’s have shared that their own efforts so far with the collection boxes and staff events have raised just over £200 – that’s already 10% of their overall target for us, all of which is destined towards our recovery vehicle refurbishment fund.

We truly appreciate the support of the Sainsbury’s. As we’re a small local charity and an independent rescue boat, we are funded through our own fundraising and through our supporters, so the support from Sainsbury’s is really is making a difference. They’ll be sending through a few of their own photos from the day soon too, so please look in our gallery for these soon.

And a big thank you too, to everyone who stopped by to say hello and to those who made donations.

Oh, and please keep an eye on Twitter and Facebook … we’ve got some big news coming up about how you can help us to raise money, but without spending anything extra yourself!

Today’s training – maintenance mode

Despite a weather forecast which predicted winds and rain, we’ve had a beautiful day again down at the boat house this Sunday, with a superb low tide giving a fantastic coastal view

 

 

Much as we’d love to have been out on the water, vital maintenance was needed for the recovery vehicle winch and the trailer. These and other tasks around the boat were necessary, so the crew moved into maintenance mode for the morning.

To get started, this meant beaching the boat so that the trailer and launch vehicle could be freed up for the work in hand.

Now although a morning spent ‘doing jobs’ on the vehicles and around the boat house may not sound like the most exciting way to spend a morning – and definitely not as thrilling as being out on the boat – the truth is, having willing hands around to help with these essential tasks is what keeps us afloat here: if the equipment and services aren’t ship shape, then it’s impossible for us to serve the community effectively, so we work hard to make sure everything is as it should be.

And speaking of community, we had extra visitors today, all of whom came along to see if they’d like to get involved. Each visitor had a chance to see what goes on here in general, but also good that everyone could see that there are less than exciting tasks to be done, but still plenty of teamwork.

So if you have any skills you’d like to share or start to develop with us, or would like to see what we’re all about, then please come along or get in touch!

The first training for October – two scenarios, plenty of practice!

It was a beautiful day down at the boat house yesterday, although the sea had a real swell with the incoming tide.  With this backdrop, there was a real focus on putting recent and ongoing training into practice with boat-based scenarios.

Although the weather was fine, the launch of the boat was slightly challenging due to the slope and flats of the beach shingle, level of the surf and the rolling tide. 

rescue boat launch Rescue boat launch, incoming tide rescue boat launch, tractor, trailer

However, the level of the tide and the swell of the water offered a good opportunity to target casualty retrieval, plus locating and assessing unidentified objects in the water, as continued practice in:

  • Using GPS and co-ordinates.
  • Effective radio and communication skills.
  • Helping trainees to learn the logistics of working together.
  • Management of the boat in the swell of the water, in order to safely manage dropping off the crew and retrieving the casualty.
  • Boat and safety awareness for crew moving between the boat and water, and back again.
  • Putting recent first aid training into practice.
  • Crew management of the stretcher and casualty – maneuvering safely onto the stretcher and then getting the stretcher onto the boat and then crew back onto boat without incident – all of which was quite difficult to do with such a swell on the water.

And of course all of this is essential practice because it’s the time of year when conditions in the water tend to be not only cold, but also pretty wild.


First up, the crews managed casualty retrieval using Ruth, our body dummy.

Casualty retrieval Casualty retrieval Ruth

Then the crews moved into a second training scenario: the suspicious object in the water training. To approach a suspicious object, the approach of the boat is extremely important, keeping the suspicious object down wind in case there is any substance likely to blow into the boat. Once the boat is safely positioned, crew can then observe and assess the object, with the aim of identifying if it is likely to be a dangerous substance. After identifying any poison markings, the information is radioed back to base, reading out phonetically.

This was all for training purposes, but when this type of incident happens for real coastguards / bomb disposal would have been alerted. In fact, these unidentified substances do occur in this area. Previously down here at Pett beach there was an incident of an unidentified substance, previous episode of substance smoking and bubbling in the sand. Crew investigated, patch of frothy orange, possibly a battery deteriorating.

Crew debrief showed that it was a good training day because new members of the team were challenged in the different situations and all crew members had the chance to work together with others they may not have worked with previously. As always, the beach and the sea also present an ever-changing challenge, even on a relatively calm day, which makes every practice and call-out situation unique. All of which means training is essential, especially across these two scenarios as these situations are two of the most common call-outs for us along here, and it’s all part of our work to try and help others enjoy these beaches safely.

If you’re interested in joining in us as a volunteer, please get in touch!