At 03:19 (3 Jan) the on duty Launch Authority, who this week is the Station’s Lifeboat Operations Manager, received a request to launch from the National Maritime Operations Centre (NMOC). The incident was to a person having entered the water at Durley Chine.
The conditions outside the Harbour were extremely windy and showed as Force 7 gusting Force9 from the West with higher wind strengths off Portland and St Catherine’s.
These conditions are at the operational limit of the Atlantic so the LOM requested an immediate page of an Atlantic crew to assemble and at the same time requested that Swanage’s DLA was paged requesting a launch of their Shannon All Weather Lifeboat as cover for the Atlantic.
The practice of requesting cover from a flanking station in conditions like these making huge sense as safety backup for the Poole crew as the Shannon can handle these conditions but the Atlantic is a better platform for a close inshore recovery.
As the LOM arrived at the Station to discuss the launch with Poole’s extremely experienced Helms a ‘Cancel Launch’ page was received thankfully as the Police had recovered the individual.
At the station were a blearily eyed group of 17 crew including 6 Helms wrapped up in a mixture warm clothing and bed gear. No doubt at Swanage the same was occurring.
It’s at times like these when a crew is potentially asked to launch into extremely hostile and dangerous conditions that the sacrifices a crew and their families make is humbling. Thankfully the individual was recovered but who knows – it may be only a short while later that the same is asked of the Crew and they will respond with equal commitment.