Last weekend I was in Poole with my family providing support to my mother who was there to recieve an award for her services to the RNLI over the years. We travelled up from Totnes to my grandparents house to pick up my Aunt and headed out to the RNLI HQ / Training Centre.
Once there we had some time to relax in the ‘Riggers Bar’ where we had some food and then headed down for the actual ceremony.
Then a lovely Dorset Afternoon Tea, which was a Cream Tea with a selection of sandwiches and wraps, served in a Marquee on the dockside with all of the awardees and their respective others mixed on tables.
After this we were treated to a tour of the facility, this was reported to be a 20 minute tour, an hour and a half later our tour guide let us go home, although we all got the feeling he couold have kept us there to much longer if anyone had given him the inclination to…
Crossing the glass bridge from one building to the other we got to see the new Poole bridge opening up, it is certainly an interesting feat of engineering, although you do get the impression the designer was trying to show off rather than build a nicely functional bridge.
After this we got to go into the simulator where the lifeboat crew train for different situations they may encounter when out on rescues. This is not where they learn to rescue, or drive a lifeboat, they will have already trained on actual boats, this is just to see how they would react with different situations and to practice different types of rescues.
From here we went into the training pool where they can practice rescuing people with the small lifeboats, but more importantly they can practice what happens when the boats are over turned and they have to initiate the self righting mechanisms. It is also open to the public for sea survival training where they can alter the sea conditions to make it harder and unfortunatly more realistic, creating waves and closing the blinds to simulate night time. They have an impressive system to enhance the environment with a large fan to create winds and a light and sound system to simulate thunder and lightning.
On the way out there is the memorial dedicated to all the RNLI Service Men and Women who have lost their lives in the course of duty. Historically records have not been very well kept and in the last year another set of names were added who were found in historical records unearthed recently.