April 2014 monthly update


Fighting the fire on the African Queen.

Operationally March was a spectacular month.  Having only attended one minor boat fire in six and a half years there were two major fires within five nights, regrettably resulting in the total loss of both craft. There was no loss of life or serious injury to the owners or those fighting the fires in difficult night-time conditions. The RNLI film footage from the crew’s helmet camera of the Africa Queen blaze on the 10 March was seen on both BBC and ITV local television and appeared widely in the Press and on the radio. It can be seen on the station web site. The Emergency services including the fire service, lifeboats, coastguard and Harbour Authority all worked very well together. The Dart inshore lifeboat was even more heavily involved in the firefighting during the second incident on 15 March.  A 24 foot Bayliner Motor cruiser was completely destroyed. In the first incident the owners were brought ashore by the lifeboat but in the second the owners managed to get away in their own tender. Dart Lifeboat conveyed the fire chief to the scene. Once the Dartmouth Fire Appliance was operating from the Lower Ferry the lifeboat took two firemen with their hose closer to the seat of the fire. The vessel had burnt through its mooring lines and was adrift. The crew was able to secure the remains in shallow water and secure it to the shore. Dart lifeboat was also able to push the stern of the lower ferry out into the tide so it could get off the mud. Crew was Buster, Ewen and Haydn. Without the lifeboat this could have been a nasty incident. Again, it was a job well done.

Saturday 12th April 10.00 -16.00. There will be a free Lifejacket Clinic at the boathouse on Coronation Park. Experts from Ocean Safety will examine your jackets. If any spare parts or new jackets are needed they can be purchased from Dartmouth Chandlers who will also be in attendance. There is no need to be an RNLI member – it is open to all.

Chairman’s Corner
March was a busy month with an excellent talk at Dartmouth Yacht Club (DYC) by Cdr Jason Phillips RN of BRNC on Aircraft Carriers, which was very popular. Two weeks later we welcomed you all to the AGM and enjoyed an inspiring address by Charles Hunter-Pease OBE, Chairman of the Trustees of the RNLI, our ultimate boss! He also visited the Lifeboat Station and presented a very well earned Bronze Badge to John Yunnie, our Sea Safety Officer.

As Spring has finally arrived it is time to take a look at the great events we have coming up. There is still be time to reserve tickets for the Gala Black Tie Dinner starting at 6.30 on 9 May at the Dartmouth Golf and Country Club. Our Patron David Dimbleby will attend and speak at the start of a fine evening of entertainment, food, auction of promises and dancing. Greater details of the evening’s programme and the marvellous auction prizes can be found in last month’s update which can be read on the station web site under the News tab. Please contact Kevin John on 07585 54213 or kevinjohndart1@gmail.com or Michelle Concannon at the Yorkshire Building Society at 3 South Embankment, Dartmouth to order tickets.

In the summer we have many of our usual fun events and some new ones which I hope you will be able to attend. If you have the time we could also use your help in collecting donations and running stalls. We’re a friendly bunch and we would love to have you with us.

Do you shop at Sainsburys? Look out for the local charity nomination forms for "charity of the year" coming out in May and make a bid for the RNLI Dart Lifeboat.
On Sunday 13 April there is an Open Meeting for Friends of the Dart lifeboat at noon in the lifeboat station. There will be wine, soft drinks, tea and coffee as well as a chance to meet some crew members and other likeminded supporters from the town. If you are a Friend or contributed in the past to become one or if you are interested in becoming a Friend please just come along. The annual donation is only £5, or more if you wish!   We intend to run far more events for the Friends of the Dart lifeboat in the future and would be interested in hearing your views.

Finally, we still need more Committee members, especially if we are successful in establishing an RNLI Dart Lifeboat shop and Visitor Centre in Dartmouth. If you can spare some time on a regular basis please contact me on 07889953974, 01803835328 or ed.featherstone@btinternet.com

Posted on Sat 5 Apr 2014 by J Fenton LPO

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