New RNLI lifejackets for Skegness lifesavers funded by local Lifeboat Ball

Monday 2 April 2012

Author: Russell Matthews

New RNLI lifejackets for Skegness lifesavers funded by local Lifeboat Ball
Volunteer RNLI (Royal National Lifeboat Institution) lifeboat crew members at Skegness lifeboat station have today (Monday) unveiled their new state-of-the-art lifejackets, funded by proceeds from The Lifeboat Ball supported by Centrica Energy.

Incorporating the latest material technology, the new lifejackets have been designed by the RNLI and manufacturer Crewsaver specifically to meet the charity’s search and rescue requirements and are a far cry from the original cork lifejackets invented by RNLI Inspector Captain Ward in 1854.

At a cost of over £300 each, the new lifejackets are being gradually rolled-out to RNLI stations around the coast of the UK and Republic of Ireland during 2012. In Skegness, the full cost of the 21 lifejackets supplied to the station (approx £6,600) has been met from proceeds of The Lifeboat Ball, held in the town in October.

The Lifeboat Ball organiser, second coxswain Ray Chapman said he was delighted the proceeds from the ball had been used locally to provide the new lifejackets, and offered his thanks to all those involved with the event.

Ray said: 'We're all extremely grateful for the huge amount of support The Lifeboat Ball received from Centrica Energy, local businesses and sponsors, and our guests on the night. It's great to see the proceeds being used at Skegness to fund such a vital and visible part of the crew's safety.'

The two new lifejacket designs - one for the all-weather lifeboat Lincolnshire Poacher and one for the inshore lifeboat Peterborough Beer Festival IV - are lighter, less bulky and more comfortable, featuring an integrated harness designed to pull the lifejacket away from the wearer's neck.

Both designs also feature zipped pockets for casualty care kits, torches, gloves or knives, integrated pouches for personal distress flares, an emergency light and whistle, and a spray hood to protect the wearer from sea water spray.

Andy Clift, RNLI Divisional Inspector, North said: ‘The RNLI has always tried to provide our volunteers with the very best equipment to ensure they can operate as safely and effectively as possible. These new lifejackets incorporate the best modern technology available to help our volunteer crews carry on doing what they have done for the past two centuries – save lives at sea.'

With the crew having familiarised themselves with the new design and gaining confidence in their use during an exercise tonight, the lifejackets are ready to be used the next time either of the Skegness lifeboats are called into action off the Lincolnshire coast.

1. Skegness lifeboat crew wear unveil their new lifejackets outside the lifeboat station. All-weather lifeboat lifejackets back row. Inshore lifeboat lifejackets front row. Back row, centre is Coxswain John Irving with Lifeboat Ball organisers Russell Matthews (left) and Ray Chapman (right). (Credit: RNLI Skegness.)
2. Crew member Tony Kelly prepares to jump from the Skegness lifeboat Lincolnshire Poacher to test the automatic inflation function of the new all-weather lifeboat lifejacket. (Credit: RNLI Skegness.)
3. Crew member Tony Kelly demonstrates the spray hood on an inflated all-weather lifeboat lifejacket. (Credit: RNLI Skegness.)

The Lifeboat Ball
• The Lifeboat Ball 2011 Sponsors and Supporters: Centrica Energy, MPI Offshore, Sid Dennis & Sons Ltd, Taylors of Skegness, Blue Anchor Leisure Ltd, Skegness Springs Ltd, East Lindsey District Council, Bray Design, Copystat, Batemans Brewery, Boston Audi, RAF Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, The Lifeboat College, City Electrical Factors, Kuki Helicopters, Alexanders, North Shore Hotel, Hallgate Security, The Piano Academy, MKM, Stewarts Bar & Restaurant, SSP Hats, Jacksons Building Centres, Keith Fear Electrical, Hodgkinsons Solicitors, Facial Attraction, Manorcrest Homes, Little Learners, Fenland Laundries, Carter Signs, Brough Hall & Co, Miles Hartley, Michael Fagan, Nigel Millard, Dean Godden.

• The Lifeboat Ball 2012 will held on Saturday 6 October 2012 at The Suncastle, Skegness. Tickets will be available soon...

Additional Lifejacket Notes
• These innovative all-weather and inshore lifejackets, incorporating the latest material technology, were designed specifically to meet the RNLI’s current search and rescue operational requirements. Led by an RNLI technical expert and through close consultation with volunteer crews around the coast, the RNLI was able to bring a wealth of detailed user feedback into the two-year development process and ensure its crews were completely happy with the design.

• The RNLI has a ‘one size fits all’ policy. The lifejackets will provide increased safety for all size and shapes of crew member and a comfortable, secure fit leading to increased efficiency and effectiveness in lifesaving. They are fitted with crotch straps (which prevent the lifejacket riding up over the crew member’s head when in the water) and an integrated harness (designed to pull the lifejacket away from the wearer’s neck, allowing for greater freedom of movement whilst rescuing those in trouble).

• On top of all these features, the lifejacket holds zipped pockets for casualty care kit, torches, gloves or knives. A spray hood to protect against sea spray is also included in the design.

• The inshore lifejacket has a single 290 newtons manually inflated chamber with 90 newtons of inherent foam buoyancy. Fully inflated, the lifejacket has a total of 380 newtons of buoyancy.

• The all-weather lifejacket is a twin chamber lifejacket. Each chamber has 290 newtons of buoyancy - one which automatically inflates and the other which can be manually inflated. If both chambers are inflated they will pressure equalise so that there is never more than 290 newtons of buoyancy.
New RNLI lifejackets for Skegness lifesavers funded by local Lifeboat Ball New RNLI lifejackets for Skegness lifesavers funded by local Lifeboat Ball New RNLI lifejackets for Skegness lifesavers funded by local Lifeboat Ball

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