RNLI volunteers set for another busy year across Waveney

The Southwold RNLI lifeboat. Picture: Mick Howes

The Southwold RNLI lifeboat. Picture: Mick Howes - Credit: Archant

Being ready to save lives at sea is what motivates the team of people who work for the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) in Lowestoft and Southwold.

And during 2015, they had many opportunities to put their lifesaving training into practice.

The RNLI lifeboats and lifeguards at Lowestoft and Southwold had another busy year responding to incidents ranging from rescuing sailors whose vessels were in danger to saving swimmers who had got into difficulties in the sea.

Lowestoft Lifeboat's volunteer crew responded to 30 call outs last year, including one arduously long tow of a stranded Wind Farm Support Vessel which had been in trouble in a 'lumpy' sea 31 miles due east of Lowestoft.

The lifeboat eventually arrived back in port six hours later, at 2.30am.

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Southwold launched their inshore B-class (Atlantic) lifeboat eight times in 2015.

Lowestoft also had a royal visitor in September for the official naming of their new £2.1million Shannon class all-weather lifesaving vessel.

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The Duke of Kent was the guest of honour and carried out the formalities at the Royal Norfolk and Suffolk Yacht Club by naming the town's lifeboat Patsy Knight.

After the ceremony the lifeboat was launched, guests and members of the public were invited to observe a manoeuvring display in the yacht basin and also off South Pier.

Lifeguards were given a boost at Southwold when a new custom-made beach lifeguard unit was opened on Southwold South beach this summer.

Following the sad death of Gary French, the father of 19-year-old RNLI lifeguard Owen French, donations left in his memory were used to help build and equip a bespoke working lifeguard station – which was opened by Owen.

Vince Pank, RNLI Lifeguard manager, said: 'The new unit at Southwold was very well received by the beach users and allowed the lifeguards to monitor a larger area of the coast.

'It was a busy season with the beaches attracting large numbers of visitors.

'Next season we will be increasing the lifeguard cover in Waveney again by putting a second unit in Lowestoft, north of the Claremont pier during peak season. That means we will be looking for new guards to join the expanding team so if you think you've got what it takes, contact Vince on Vincent_Pank@rnli.org.uk.'

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