Every day our lifeboat crews leave the safety of the shore.
Every day they put their skills and training to the test.
Every day these ordinary volunteers do something extraordinary -
they save lives at sea.
The Royal National Lifeboat Institution
The RNLI is a registered charity that saves lives at sea. It has provided a 24-hour on-call lifeboat service to cover search and rescue requirements out to 100 nautical miles from the coast of the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland since 1824. The RNLI is recognised as one of the most efficient lifeboat services in the world. There are 235 lifeboat stations, and 140 lifeguard units not only around the coast but also on inland waterways, lakes and the River Thames. Lifeboats are manned by highly trained with largely volunteer crews. Every penny spent to maintain the lifeboat service is raised from voluntary contributions and legacies for its income. The RNLI is proud of its independence from Government status yet works with the Maritime Coastguard Agency, the Irish Coast Guard and other organisations to provide a coordinated rescue service.
Since the RNLI was founded in 1824 its lifeboats and lifeguards have saved more than 140,000 lives. More and more people are using the sea for leisure and lifeboat crews and lifeguards are responding to an increased number of incidents relating to people engaged in recreational pursuits.
The Lifeboat Crew
Lifeboat crews are mostly volunteers, who come from all walks of life, and give up their time and comfort to carry out rescues and save lives at sea on the lifeboats. With over 4,800 lifeboat crew members in the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland, of which over 340 are women, lifeboat crews are dedicated and make a major commitment - which could ultimately include risking their life. They respond at a moment's notice, no matter where they are or what they are doing when the pager goes off. Crews are regularly called away from their families, their beds and their work, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Often they'll leave a place of work or comfort to readily exchange leisure and sleep to brave cold, wet and fatigue in situations that test their skill, strength and courage. Their lifesaving work is essential, often difficult and sometimes dangerous.
RNLI volunteers across the UK and Republic of Ireland are united by a willingness to commit time and energy to a cause about which they are passionate. It is because so many crew members, shore helpers, fundraisers and others are volunteers that such a high proportion of funds can be spent on first-class lifeboats and equipment.
They have one thing in common: they selflessly make time in their own lives to save others. These days, less than 10% of crew members come from maritime backgrounds. So it is essential that the RNLI provides first class training to make sure its crews have the skills they need to save lives
Eastbourne Lifeboat Station
A station was established in Eastbourne in 1822, two years before the Royal National Lifeboat Institution itself was founded. The Institution did not take over the Station until 1853. Boathouses for the lifeboats have been in a number of locations over the years. The first being in Marine Road and Marine Parade, then at the bottom of the Wish Tower slopes. In 1903 a new boathouse was built at the Fishing Station in Royal Parade. This is still in use today for housing Eastbourne's Inshore Lifeboat.
The All Weather Lifeboat (AWB)
"The Royal Thames" Operational Number 12-36 named by Her Royal Highness Princess Michael of Kent on Monday 6th September 1993 in Sovereign Harbour where she is moored. The lifeboat is one of the R.N.L.I. designed Mersey Class of Lifeboats made of fibre reinforced composite material, which is extremely strong. The lifeboat is powered by two Caterpillar 3208T V-8. This engine fit gives a typical maximum speed of 16 knots.
The Inshore Lifeboat (ILB)
"The Joan and Ted Wiseman 50" Operational Number D - 605.The first of the new breed of inshore lifeboat to be issued to the coast. The boat was given to the RNLI by a Middlesex couple who wished to mark their 50th Wedding Anniversary in a special way.
With the tighter dimensions, less elastic material, improved floor boarding system and a pod to house electronics, anchor, anchor rope, and fist aid kit the new boat is some 50% faster than some of the older inflatable boats.
With a new 50HP engine the boats are very responsive to helm input and rapid for transiting to a search area or casualty
The Call-outs at Eastbourne
The Eastbourne Lifeboat Station is recognised as being one of the busiest in the country. The number of lifeboat launches in Sussex during 2009 show that volunteer lifeboat crews had yet another busy year launching a total of 523 times across the eight Sussex lifeboat stations. Eastbourne Lifeboats launched on 95 occasions making us the second busiest in the county. The two lifeboats were called out a total of 95 times during 2009. The call-outs were to a varied amount of incidents ranging from sick or injured commercial fishermen, leisure sailors, pleasure boats, fishing and angling boats, swimmers, dinghies and inflatables and persons cut off by the tide. Find out more about Eastbourne's Lifeboats by visiting the web-site .
Souvenirs will be available to purchase from our Fundraising stall at the Regatta.
I hope you enjoy the RNLI Eastbourne Lifeboat Regatta 2010
Lifeboat Operations Manager
Eastbourne Lifeboat Station
Six out of ten RNLI launches are only possible thanks to gifts in Wills.
As a charity, the RNLI relies on your support to carry on saving lives at sea.