Hope Cove Life Boat’s goal is “To Protect and Save lives in Bigbury Bay and the surrounding Coastline”. There has been a Lifeboat operating from Hope Cove for three centuries, but the newly formed Limited Company, with charitable status, has only just taken on this important role. The Company is administered and operated entirely by volunteers who have some sort of affiliation with the area. The crew, all have a wealth of seafaring experience and are trained to the highest standards. This summer I joined as a trainee and will continue to train on Monday nights whenever I am in this beautiful part of the world. These photos were taken when we were doing a demonstration at Hope Cove weekend in August 2014.
On my first training session, I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to go out in Alexandra, the new lifeboat (blessed on Easter Day 2013). We were set a task to find a “missing” boat travelling from Aveton Gifford, out of Bantham estuary and around the coast to Salcombe Harbour. We were given no clear details as to the whereabouts of this white motorboat, other than the times at which it left AG and its original ETA at Salcombe. After launching the Hope Cove Lifeboat, we set off to Aveton Gifford to re trace the given route and after a fair few hours of searching backwards and forwards along the coastline of Bigury Bay and Salcombe Harbour we located the boat in and among some rocks.
The excitement in partaking in such a training exercise and the welcoming sense I felt by all the crew towards me encouraged me to continue to train as a future lifeboat crew member. I was also overwhelmed by how enthusiastic the members were about passing on their knowledge.
During subsequent training sessions the other members tried their skills at tractor driving. Although I have done some of this on our farm, I haven’t yet got my driving licence, so I spent the time on rope work – knots and throw rope skills, electronic chart work etc. On one session we practiced coxing the boat and launching and recovery work. The twin engine really made a difference here to the normal experience I have on the family Salcombe Flyer! Although I was pleased that I had completed the RYA Powerboat course this summer which gave me good grounding.
My experience on the Hope Cove Lifeboat Crew this summer culminated in me crewing the Hope Cove Lifeboat during the Hope Cove Family Weekend in order to provide safety cover for a variety of races, for example assisting a raft drifting out to sea during the competitive raft race.
I thoroughly enjoyed my crew experience on the lifeboat this summer and look forward to future time spent on the crew.