As well as our usual training and maintenance of equipment last Sunday, the boat, base and beach crew volunteers were tasked with something else … a big beach clean up.
Whether as a result of the tides, some beach-based fly-tipping, dumping of waste at sea or a combination of these worrying factors, when the crews arrived at the boat house last Sunday there was a significant amount of debris on the beach, close to our launch slipway. The implications this has for safety and of course for the environment, meant a big beach clean up operation was a priority.
The debris mostly appeared to be a significant combination of thick ropes and netting, which was caught up in one of the groynes. This type of beach debris can cause a potential hazard in many ways:
- At low tide, to beach users and dogs.
- To marine life and local bird life.
- Being a risk to vessels and water craft, including our own launch vehicle and boats.
- Because this debris was very firmly tangled in the groyne, it also adds to the submerged hazard of the groyne itself at high-tide.
- This risk to vessels, including our own, has implications for our own rapid response to emergency call outs.
It was clearly a no-brainer that a clean-up was needed – and fast. So our volunteers decided to work to remove the debris, with a plan to cut it away and then use our launch / recovery vehicle to tow the netting off the beach.
In the event, it took around 45 minutes just to cut the netting away, as it was well and truly tangled around the groyne. Being nylon, it was also particularly hard-wearing and resistant to our efforts to just untangle it, so the only way to remove it was by cutting it.
Once towed up to the top of the beach, the debris was then sorted along the sea wall, and removed to the boathouse, so that it could be disposed of appropriately.
Our volunteers always work hard on Sundays down at the boathouse, and today was no exception, with everyone who was there involved in some aspect of the beach clean up.
As this shows, there’s plenty involved as a volunteer with Pett Level Independent Rescue Boat – even without setting foot on a boat! If you’re looking for a volunteering opportunity in 2020, please do think about joining us. Come on down to the boathouse (and the beach) any Sunday morning from 9 a.m. to find out about getting involved or contact us.