July 2016 Update

2016 08 167874edited 1

RNLI Dart July 2016 update.
News from the RNLI Visitor Centre.
Paul Boissier, Chief Executive Officer of the RNLI, and his wife Sue, paid an unofficial visit to the Visitor Centre and the Dart lifeboat station on Tues 19 July.

They were greeted at the Visitor Centre by Tracey Lucas, volunteer Visitor Centre Manager, and her volunteers, Lynn Clements, Jean Farley and Lucy Treleaven. After a thorough tour of the facility he explained to Tracey how much he had been looking forward to his visit; he had heard such glowing comments from his colleagues. He commented particularly on how well the stock was displayed and would have loved the chance to play in a lifeboat and wear the kit when he was a child.

He was most impressed with his visit and would like to see the Centre replicated elsewhere around the country. In conversation with Dave Nicoll, Fundraising manager for the South West, he described the Centre as ‘Fabulous’.

Numbers to our visitor centre are increasing now that the summer season is upon us. We are now seeing more families and our volunteers are enjoying sharing the exhibits with them. It is especially rewarding to see the pleasure and interest our younger visitors are taking and the fun they get from spending time in our D class boat. Hopefully this will continue as the summer holidays start and more families arrive to enjoy their holidays in Dartmouth.

The increase in visitor numbers is being reflected in our shop sales and donations also. We have recently broadened our ranges to include some top quality and unique products which we hope will sell well. These include a range of Sealskinz clothing, socks, hats and gloves. Made from New Zealand Merino wool, these are well known for their warmth and durability and are 100% waterproof and breathable, perfect for walkers and sailors.

We also have a limited stock of a new line for the RNLI called the 235 Range. When RNLI lifejackets reach the end of their service we are recycling them by redesigning them into special products. Hard wearing and water resistant these products, kit bags, tablet cases, wallets and wash bags, vary in colour and detail, depending on which part of the lifejacket it was made from. Some pieces feature the unique service record of the individual lifejacket, and all items are skilfully made by hand in the UK. The collection is named after the 235 lifeboat stations the lifejackets were originally from around the coast of the UK and Republic of Ireland.

My volunteers and I look forward to welcoming you, your families and visitors this summer; let’s hope that we finally get some summer weather to enjoy.

Tracey Lucas
Volunteer Manager
Dartmouth RNLI Visitor Centre

Operations update

We launched at 8pm on Sunday May 8 to the report of a kayaker clinging to a rock up river in the Dittisham area. He was located at Lower Gurrow Point, up to his waist in water under the overhanging trees. He was hypothermic. We rescued him and his kayak and took him back to the boathouse to warm him up and provide dry clothing and accommodation overnight. We believe that his was a life saved. There is a video of this rescue on the local station website. www.dartlifeboat.org.uk

Three Sundays later we were tasked by HM Coastguard to a 23’ Newbridge Pioneer sailing yacht that had grounded at the top of the tide on Blackness Rock, its bow almost touching the beacon. Dean entered the water and confirmed the rudder was free before rocking the vessel and it was able to float safely into deeper water.

Our lifeboat, D702, Spirit of the Dart, developed a slow leak in her keel and was replaced by the relief boat D774, ‘Arthur Hamilton’ from the Inshore Lifeboat Centre on Cowes. D702 was repaired but may need further work doing on her.

On Tuesday June 14 the Police were conducting a search for a missing teenager in the Blackpool Sands area when their helicopter found a submerged object around 600metres from the beach. The Dart inshore lifeboat was asked to investigate and found it to be a submerged buoy attached to the seabed. Coastguard Search and Rescue teams, the Mountain Rescue team from Ashburton, the Police and the Coastguard helicopter all joined the search and the inshore lifeboat was asked to conduct a shoreline search and to examine the cliffs from the sea. The Salcombe RNLI Tamar lifeboat, which could also provide better communications, conducted a sea search, and after three and a half hours at sea the inshore lifeboat was re-fueled and a second crew took over. Further details of this shout and the two subsequent linked call-outs can be found on the website.

Volunteers required. Unusually for the Dart lifeboat there are vacancies for lifeboat crew and Deputy Launch Authorities to join the team. If you are interested in finding out more please contact me. Crew need to be between the ages of 17 and 45, be fit and live within 10 minutes of the lifeboat station.

Rob Clements
Dart lifeboat Operations Manager.


Thirty three young RNLI Storm Force members joined seventeen children of the crew for a Storm Force event at the Lifeboat Station on Saturday 16 July. A full report is in the next issue of Dart D’Tales which will be available in early August. There will be photos on the station web site as they learnt about the lifeboat crew, the RNLI lifeguards, the RNLI Flood Rescue teams and the Dartmouth Coastguard SAR team.

John Fenton
RNLI Dart Education volunteer.


RNLI Dart Lifeboat week runs from this Friday, 29 July, to August 6. The Flag Day in Dartmouth is on Friday 29.

The following day, Sat 30, is our Garden Safari between 11 and 4pm. Several small gardens around Dartmouth will be open to visitors. All the front gardens in Coombe Terrace (opposite Coronation Park) will be taking part, together with four other gardens and an allotment in Jawbones - so all very varied!

Refreshments can be taken along the way!

Admission is £5 per person - maps are available from RNLI Visitor Centre and individual gardens before / on the day.

All proceeds will support the local RNLI Dart Lifeboat.

This is a great opportunity to explore Dartmouth and its 'secret gardens' or can be an enjoyable way to get some ideas for small garden design!

Just a mention - all gardens are not suitable for anyone with mobility problems, young children or dogs!

The final event is the annual RNLI Fete in the Royal Avenue Gardens between 10am and 3pm. The format will be similar to those held previously; Liz Yunnie will have wonderful flowers and garden plants for sale, the children will be able to shy for coconuts, the adults will be able to vie for Val Gibbons amazing collection of bottles and various local celebrities will do their bit for the charity by having wet sponges hurled in their direction. Please note the change in the date to Tuesday 2 August.

The RNLI Dart Fundraising team has recently received two very generous cheques. The first was from Mitch Tonks. The diners in the Dartmouth Rockfish are asked if they would like to add £1 to their bill and he then supplements this. Over a year the total has reached £4125, which is more than enough to cover the costs of equipping and training a new volunteer to the lifeboat crew.

A further £1000 was raised by the Stourbridge Masonic Lodge. A previous Dart Fundraising Chairman, Harry Escott, had been to talk to them and David Bell, Worshipful Master of the St Kenelm Lodge in Worcestershire, chose the RNLI Dart lifeboat to be one of the main charities to support during his year in office. The money raised for the RNLI was all donated by the Masons, their wives and their friends during various meetings over the year.

David and his wife Sue came to the lifeboat station to present the cheque to Rob Clements, Lifeboat Operations Manager, whilst they were on holiday in the area. They were shown round the station and told about some of the main rescues during the lifeboat’s nine year history.

John Fenton

RNLI Dart Lifeboat Press Officer.

Posted on Sun 31 Jul 2016 by John Fenton

A charity registered in England and Wales (209603) and Scotland (SCO37736). Charity number CHY 2678 in the Republic of Ireland  I  RNLI (Trading) Ltd - 01073377, RNLI (Sales) Ltd - 2202240 and RNLI (Enterprises) Ltd - 1784500 are all companies registered at West Quay Road, Poole BH15 1HZ. Images & copyright © RNLI 2008.