Beach safety work around Skegness is driving down launches

Skegness is one of the safest beaches in the country thanks to heroes of the sea who are sending out a strong message for users to respect the water.

Recent statistics revealed there were 33 launches from the RNLI station on Central Beach in 2015 - 23 by the inshore lifeboat and 10 by the all-weather lifeboat.

It’s all about preventing having to send the lifeboat out rather than sending it out when it’s gone wrong

Adam Holmes, RNLI volunteer

Other beaches in the north of the country, which includes the Skegness coast, had more than double the launches, including Fleet with 86 and Blackpool with 78.

The work done to keep our shores safe is even more remarkable when it is taken into account that the RNLI boats and launches are funded by generous donations by the public – and the crew and fundraisers are all volunteers.

Ahead of next week’s half-term break and with just weeks to go before the start of a new holiday season, Skegness RNLI crew launched the all-weather lifeboat for a practice call-out using a life-sized dummy, affectionately called ‘Dead Fred’.

RNLI volunteer Adam Holmes said: “Seven volunteers took part in the operation, which took place between Central Beach to Ingoldmells Point.

“The ‘rescue’ was achieved by the crew clipping a safety harness to the boat and climbing outside the safety rail and leaning near to the water.

“Various deck work was also practiced, including anchoring and deploying a drouge – a device which looks a little like a wind sock and acts to slow the boat and steady the course.

“There was also some training for the mechanics inside the bilges and engine room.

“We hold regular practices throughout the year to make sure our skills are up to date and the inshore lifeboat, which is our workhorse, goes out most Sundays, but it is our sea safety programme that is really helping to drive down figures.

“Our volunteers go out to schools and scout and brownie groups to talk about the lifeboats and invite them to come along and see what we do.

“Increasing the number of lifeguards on the beach over the past seven years has also helped. They are dealing with some calls we used to get. such as missing children – in 99 per cent of calls the children are not missing at all.

“It’s all about preventing having to send the lifeboat out rather than sending it out when it’s gone wrong.”

This is an especially important year for the Skegness lifeboat crew. At the moment they are using an all-weather relief boat from Poole while the Mersey-class Lincolnshire Poacher has a massive refit, but a new lifeboat is under construction and will be operational early next year.

The new Shannon-class lifeboat will cost £2 million and is being funded partly from a donation made by Mr Joel Grunnill, a volunteer who put in 45 years service, who died 2011.

Anyone wishing to get involved or make a donation can email the Skegness RNLI at mradamh@me.com

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