WATCH: Lowestoft RNLI lifeboat crews test out their skills in ‘challenging conditions’

Both Lowestoft and Southwold lifeboat crews were launched. Picture: Nigel Millard

Both Lowestoft and Southwold lifeboat crews were launched. Picture: Nigel Millard - Credit: Archant

With severe weather continuing to batter the region, the crew of the Lowestoft RNLI lifeboat used the stormy conditions and driving snow as the perfect opportunity to put their rough weather boat handling skills to the test.

Lowestoft Lifeboat covered in snow. Picture: Mick Howes

Lowestoft Lifeboat covered in snow. Picture: Mick Howes - Credit: Archant

And this dramatic photograph shows the power of the sea, as the lifeboat crew went head to head with the Beast of the East.

As the charity that saves lives at sea, RNLI volunteer crews at stations across the UK and the Republic of Ireland have to be ready to respond to an emergency in any weather, at any time of day.

So while most people were heading indoors, the crew cleared the snow from their lifeboats this week and took to the sea for an exercise in temperatures equivalent to -12C.

Volunteers from the lifeboat station launched in force eight and force nine easterly gales and severe weather in two of the RNLI's state of the art Shannon lifeboats, which are powered by water jets and are specifically designed to cope with the harshest of conditions.

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Lowestoft's Shannon lifeboat, Patsy Knight, and an RNLI relief Shannon lifeboat, Reg, were launched at 9am on Thursday morning (March 1) and remained at sea until around 2.30pm yesterday.

RNLI crew member Nigel Millard was on board the lifeboat, Reg, and he filmed the exercise.

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He said: 'The conditions were pretty extreme out there with the seas were rolling up to five metres high.

'We were exercising over an area called the Newcombe Sand, about a mile off Lowestoft, and it was a very confused sea. It was as challenging conditions as I've ever been in.'

Mr Millard added: 'We never know what conditions we are going to be called out to when our pagers go, so this was an excellent opportunity for us to train for those extreme conditions.

'Both boats were crewed by volunteers from Lowestoft and they did an amazing job and the way the boats handled was incredible.

'With the harsh weather continuing across the country, we hope people will heed the warnings and keep indoors, but if we are called to launch, exercises such as this show we are ready to go to sea and save lives in the most testing of conditions,' added Mr Millard.

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