Ready for disaster: Sheringham lifeboat crew prepare for busiest time of year

Brian Farrow, operations manager at Sheringham Lifeboat Station, and station volunteer Dick Grieve. Picture: Ian Burt

Brian Farrow, operations manager at Sheringham Lifeboat Station, and station volunteer Dick Grieve. Picture: Ian Burt

Archant 2017

From the crew room at the RNLI station at Sheringham you can see about 12 miles out to sea and it all appears to be peaceful and calm on a hot, sunny day.

Sheringham Lifeboat station. Picture: Ian BurtSheringham Lifeboat station. Picture: Ian Burt

But the volunteer team knows that the busiest part of the season is fast approaching.

With the hot weather comes the holidaymakers and with more people about there’s more chance their services will be required.

So far this year the Atlantic 85-type lifeboat at the station has only been called out three times. The average for a year is about 12, but the number can rise to about 18.

Brian Farrow, operations manager at Sheringham Lifeboat Station, said: “There’s no way of predicting how many times you will get called out. This weekend is supposed to be hot and there’ll be more people about. That means the chance of being called out will be greater, but who knows? Obviously, it tends to be seasonal.”

The RNLI has been based at the station on The Promenade since 1938 and Mr Farrow, who is on call, has been working there for more than 20 years. He said: “I’ve been called out to all kinds of rescues in that time. Lots of fishermen, swimmers, jet skiers and people on lilos. We don’t get so many fishermen now because the number of fishing boats has gone down in my time from about 15 to five.

“We are called out to more accidents on the foreshore, between the sea and the land, now. We take the boat out with the lights on to look for people who have, maybe, fallen off a cliff.

“There are so many variations of rescue - one day it’s a guy on a lilo, the next, you are saving a diver.”

Figures show that 10 people lost their lives around the East Anglian coast in 2016, but Mr Farrow said people were getting better at realising the danger and keeping safe.

They have about 30 volunteer crew they can call upon should a ‘shout’ come in, including one woman, Kate Munro. The boat’s top speed is about 40 knots. Four crewmen are needed to staff the boat when it’s deployed.

But more volunteers are needed to staff the two RNLI shops in the town, at the boathouse and in the High Street, to raise keep the service afloat. Wendy Austin, who runs the boathouse shop, said: “The job’s not all about sales - we also aim to educate visitors and promote water safety.”

To express your interest call Linda Coleman on 07855910079.

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