RNLI Dart update May 2016

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Commander Ed Featherstone is thanked by Commodore Jake Moores at the Branch AGM

News from the RNLI Dart fundraising Branch
Ed Featherstone stepped down, for personal reasons, from the position of Chairman of the RNLI Dart fundraising Branch at the AGM on 21 April. It was a role he had filled very successfully for the last two and a half years. He was thanked by Commodore Jake Moores, Chairman of the RNLI Dart Lifeboat Management Group, for all the time , effort and enthusiasm he had given in moving the Branch forward; in particular for his initial suggestion that the RNLI should open a shop in Dartmouth. In less than a year the Visitor Centre has moved up to become the 22nd most successful of the 150 main retail outlets that the RNLI has in this country and Eire.
It was also announced at the AGM that two other members of the committee had stepped down from their roles; Anne Walton as Membership Secretary and Alan Makepeace as Events Secretary. Jenny Gould, Secretary of the Branch, would be delighted to hear from anyone who would like to join the Committee and even to take on one of these vacant posts. You can contact her through the ‘Contact us’ tab on this web site.
The RNLI national May Day campaign opens on 29 April. This has taken the place of SOS week that used to be at the end of January each year. The first event in Dartmouth is the collection for the RNLI in the Sainsburys store this Friday, the 29th. On Saturday the Dart lifeboat crew will be staging their very popular Sink Our Shio event in the Boatfloat between 11am and 12.30pm. Throughout the May Day campaign yellow welly pin badges will be on sale to support the Dart lifeboat, in the Visitor Centre and at other outlets around town.

Operations Update
On 10th March two French trawlers sheltering from the storm moored against the South Embankment. Shortly after midnight, at the bottom of the tide, they fell away from the wall. The Fire brigade and the Dart Lifeboat were alerted and together they managed to recover the ten crew members from the trawlers to safety without injury.
Unfortunately one of these vessels, the St Christophe, failed to float on the rising tide. A real tragedy for the owners and his employees.
Two days later the Lifeboat crew was paged again to assist HM Coastguard Shore team and the fire brigade to rescue a retriever dog which had become firmly stuck in the mud near the Dittisham Sailing Club. The dog was saved from the rising tide and returned to his owner by the lifeboat, exhausted but unharmed. A first but muddy shout for our newest crew member Stuart Millard.
To date we have had four shouts which is normal for this quiet time of year.

It has not been so quiet for the crew, who have been very busy with their training. They have exercised twice with Salcombe Lifeboat and one of these sessions was with the new SAR Helicopter from Newquay.
Our three crew members who are also part of the RNLI flood rescue team are off to Oban in Scotland in May for a five day course on Arancia boat handling in swift waters.
Crew member and RNLI Lifeguard Chris Rampling has also had a week away at RNLI Training College in Poole on a Lifeguard Supervisors Course.
This was all in addition to our normal twice weekly training sessions afloat.
Congratulations to Aaron Spicer on successfully completing his probationary period as crew member with our Lifeboat Station. I am sure he will be a valuable addition to our team for years to come.
All the operations team has helped out as well with our fundraising efforts. Where do they find the time!

Rob Clements
Lifeboat Operations Manager Dart Lifeboat   

Visitor Centre May 16 update
We celebrated our official opening on the 31st March this year which was a wonderfully successful day, enjoyed by many local guests and many of our volunteers, from the VC, the RNLI Dart fundraising committee and our crew. The centre was opened by our local MP, Dr Sarah Wollaston who thoroughly enjoyed the day and was very complimentary.
Since opening as a fully operative visitor centre we have seen the number of visitors increase steadily as spring and summer arrive. The Easter holidays brought many visitors and the volunteers have enjoyed busy days showing them around our exhibitions and selling our varied merchandise. We look forward to seeing these numbers increase and spreading the word about our exciting visitor centre and adding to the attraction of visiting Dartmouth.
It is fair to say that the most satisfaction for all of us has come from showing families around and explaining how the RNLI serve our community, as well as around the country and further afield, overseas. The main attraction, our D Class boat is a huge success, it is not only the children who enjoy spending time in the boat, donning the kit and gaining a feel for how it might feel to be out on the water.  The interest that the visitors are showing and the successful message the VC is getting across is showing in the amount of donations we are receiving in our donation boxes. The money we raise is vital for the continuation of the RNLI, both locally and nationally.
During the quieter times of the year we are planning to open the VC to members of the local community as a place of learning and interest. We have already held a successful evening when local Beavers and Cubs came to listen to one of our lifeguards and learn about beach safety. We hope that this will be the first of many such events which will optimise the VC and make it a year round attraction.

Tracey Lucas
Volunteer Manager

Posted on Fri 29 Apr 2016 by John Fenton LPO

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