Lifeboat crew given training in flood rescues

Volunteers from Eastbourne’s lifeboat team were sent to north Wales for expert flood rescue training.

Local lifesavers headed west along with colleagues from Hastings, Portsmouth and Southend to learn more about how to help search and rescue attempts and the best ways to support people in flood-hit areas.

The RNLI members from Eastbourne formed part of the charity’s Flood Rescue Team and were given guidance and hands on training in how to handle boats in unpredictable and hazardous areas of floodwater.

On exercise at Four Mile Bridge and Stanley Embankment, crews were required to negotiate narrow, fast flowing waters, similar to those that might be faced in a flood-hit town.

Then the volunteers headed back out to Four Mile Bridge for a night swim exercise, practising the drills needed to get to safety, should team members end up in the water.

RNLI deputy divisional inspector Richard Weeks, who organised the weekend training, said, “It’s sometimes overlooked that a small group of our volunteer lifeboat crew are not only on call for their local station, but also trained and ready to be deployed within six hours to floods in the UK and Ireland.

“This training is invaluable to ensure they have the skills necessary to be able to deploy boats into fast moving water, which presents unique risks and hazards. The recent floods in northern England remind us of the value of broadening crew’s skills to tackle flood scenarios. Regular training is vital to ensure we can work together, safely and effectively in the unfamiliar terrain and high-risk areas.”