Donaghadee Lifeboat

Coastguard and RNLI crew swap roles for a night

COASTGUARDS and the crew of Donaghadee’s lifeboat Saxon swapped roles for a night during a training and get-to-know-you exercise last week.

RNLI volunteers visited the Belfast Coastguard Operations Centre at Bergenz House in Bangor while a Coastguard team joined the Saxon’s crew during a search and rescue routine in the North Channel.

Donaghadee’s RNLI operations manager Peter Irwin said, “We work closely with the Coastguard and it is useful to see how they go about their important job of co-ordinating the emergency services. We hope the Coastguard team gained some insight into what we experience at sea.”

Coastguard operations officer Dawn Petrie added, “We value our relationship with the voluntary services and an exercise such as this always helps us to work together more closely when we are faced with an emergency.”

In Bangor maritime operations officer, Jake Hill, demonstrated the latest Coastguard technology and protocols. The lifeboat crew tracked their colleagues on screen as they conducted a search of the sea north east of the Copeland islands. Three miles out in the channel the Saxon’s coxswain Philip McNamara and crew demonstrated RNLI technology and protocols to the Coastguard team as they undertook the grid pattern search.

The Coastguard Operations Centre in Bangor handles up to 15,000 incidents a year often co-ordinating operations involving lifeboats, helicopters, police and ambulance crews. The Saxon’s crew respond to around 30 emergencies every year for the charity that saves lives at sea.

Readers can follow the Saxon’s operations as they happen at the Twitter account Donaghadee RNLI or catch up on the details afterwards at the station’s new website