TWO RNLI volunteers have successfully completed their training to ensure they can safely launch boats.
Tractor drivers play a crucial role at the station; RNLI Penarth’s lifesaving service cannot operate without these vehicles launching the boats, and all equipment must be always maintained to a high standard.
A recent assessment day saw volunteers successfully complete their tractor training – tractors have been used to launch RNLI lifeboats for a century.
RNLI volunteer Simon Shirley passed out on both the station’s Talus MB-4H amphibious tractor as well as the New Holland tractor, while Cliff Taylor passed out on the New Holland tractor.
Mr Taylor also celebrated success earlier this month when he was presented with the RNLI tie and Guernsey jumper to mark his successful pass out as shore crew at the station.
Lifeboat Operations Manager at RNLI Penarth Lifeboat Station, Jason Dunlop, said: “Launch and recovery of lifeboat is a challenging task as our tractor drivers have to operate their vehicles in difficult and changeable circumstances on the beach and in the water.
“This training covers not only driving the equipment but how to debog and manoeuvre in very challenging conditions.
“We provide our drivers with the very best equipment and training to launch our lifeboats and save lives at sea.”
The RNLI was founded in 1824, and Penarth Lifeboat Station was established 37 years later in 1861; it operates two inshore lifeboats: a B class Atlantic 85, and a D class.
The Atlantic 85 first joined RNLI’s fleets in 2005 and – across UK and Republic of Ireland coasts – has helped save at least 814 lives and helped rescue more than 22,800 people.
Meanwhile, D class lifeboats have been used by the RNLI since 1963, evolving with the times. These boats are highly manoeuvrable and are highly useful for searches and rescues in the surf, shallow water, and confined locations.