Lifeboat crew train for wind farm evacuation
Monday 15 September 2014
Author: Russell Matthews
Skegness RNLI’s volunteer lifeboat crew members had the opportunity for some valuable training this weekend, working with one of the vessels that maintain the wind turbines off the Lincolnshire coast.
Centrica Energy’s Lynn, Inner Dowsing and Lincs wind farms consist of 129 turbines, each nearly 150m tall and in total providing enough power to supply over 300,000 households. A fleet of ‘Windcat’ support vessels from Grimsby provide maintenance support for the turbines.
The Skegness all-weather lifeboat Lincolnshire Poacher launched at 10am on Saturday morning having been given details of a simulated incident that had occurred on wind farm support vessel Windcat 33 that was working on a turbine in the middle of the Lincs wind farm, some six miles east of Skegness.
The lifeboat made her way towards turbine LS23 to find a simulated casualty requiring medical attention and evacuation back to Skegness hospital.
The crew of both boats practised securing the casualty (a life-sized dummy) in a stretcher and transferring them across to the lifeboat while the two vessels were alongside one another. Later, the lifeboat was manoeuvred underneath the turbine platform while the simulated casualty was lowered down using a davit on the platform.
Skegness lifeboat Coxswain Ray Chapman said the training had gone very well and had been extremely valuable for the crew.
He said: ‘This was a great opportunity for the crews of both the Skegness lifeboat and Windcat 33 to practise evacuating an injured person from one of the turbines and it all went very smoothly.’
Ray added, ‘Fortunately, the teams that work on the wind farms are well trained and very professional, so real incidents on the turbines are extremely rare. But it’s always good to be prepared for a worst case scenario.’
The volunteer crew of the Lincolnshire Poacher launch twice a month for training exercises. Details of upcoming launches can be found on the training exercise launch calendar.
1. Skegness lifeboat Lincolnshire Poacher approaching turbine LS23 in the middle of Centrica Energy’s Lincs wind farm. (Credit: RNLI Skegness)
2. Second Coxswain Richard Watson (R) and crew member Craig Hopkins on the bow of Lincolnshire Poacher alongside wind farm support vessel Windcat 33. (Credit: RNLI Skegness)
3. Crew member Adam Holmes (L) and Second Coxswain Richard Watson (R) help evacuate a simulated casualty from Windcat 33 onto Skegness lifeboat. (Credit: RNLI Skegness)
4. A simulated casualty is lowered from the platform of turbine LS23 onto the Lincolnshire Poacher. (Credit: RNLI Skegness)
5. A simulated casualty is lowered from the platform of turbine LS23 onto the Lincolnshire Poacher – as seen from Skegness inshore lifeboat. (Credit: RNLI Skegness/Craig Willard)