Being a member of crew is a big commitment, not only for the crew member but also for their families.
Many crew members on station, as with other lifeboat stations, come from non-maritime backgrounds. Acquiring skills is important, but maintaining them is just as important. For this reason all crew members come down to contribute to training, whether sharing their knowledge, learning from scratch, or refreshing their knowledge.
The North Wales coast has a high tidal range and it is important that crew members are able to work in such an environment. A good understanding of state of tide, tidal currents, and the times when North Wales harbours and ports have sufﬁcient water to access is important, particularly for our helms, navigators and coxswains. Most have done Yachtmaster examinations to test and demonstrate their knowledge.
The RNLI has some of the best casualty care ﬁrst-aid training in the world. The well structured training package and support material means that non-medical and non-paramedic crew are able to support casualties to an extremely high standard until back on land when the casualty can be safely handed over. And all of this in an environment which can be very challenging and where conventional land-based ﬁrst aid training is sometimes difﬁcult. Most crew members are trained using this programme but regular practice is needed to ensure their skills are spot-on when needed for real.
In addition to station based training we also make use of specialist training delivered by the RNLI in fantastic facilities at the RNLI College in Poole. These include courses for:
No amount of shore-based training substitutes for going aﬂoat on exercise and so we timetable in regular exercises throughout the year to go through drills and practice for as many eventualities as we can imagine.
Exercises take a lot of preparation, and mean a late ﬁnish after washing down the boats, but they are also great fun even in the worst of weather!
Community focus is really important to the crew and so as well as all of the time we spend training we also try to give back to our local community in as many ways as possible – such as sponsored events, tours of the boathouse and lifeboats, and talks to local clubs and schools.