Lowestoft RNLI used the 'Beast from the East' as an opportunity to train its volunteer crews in force 8 and force 9 easterly gales


The ‘Beast from the East’ might have forced many people to stay indoors, but not RNLI volunteer crews at stations across the UK and the Republic of Ireland who used the inclement weather to get on their lifeboats and take to the sea for an exercise in temperatures equivalent to -12C.

Volunteers from the Lowestoft lifeboat station launched in force 8 and force 9 easterly gales and severe gales in two of the RNLI’s Shannon lifeboats, which are powered by water jets and are specifically designed to cope with the harshest weather conditions.

Lowestoft’s Shannon Patsy Knight and an RNLI relief Shannon lifeboat, Reg, were launched at 9.00am on Thursday (1 March) and remained at sea until around 2.30pm.

RNLI crew member Nigel Millard who was on board and filmed the exercise said: “The conditions were pretty extreme out there with the seas were rolling up to five metres high.

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“We were exercising over an area called the Newcome Sand, about a mile off Lowestoft and it was a very confused sea. It was as challenging conditions as I’ve ever been in.

“We never know what conditions we are going to be called out to when our pagers go, so this was an excellent opportunity for us to train for those extreme conditions. Both boats were crewed by volunteers from Lowestoft and they did an amazing job and the way the boats handled was incredible.”, he continued.

‘With the harsh weather continuing across the country, we hope people will heed the warnings and keep indoors, but if we are called to launch, exercises such as this show we are ready to go to sea and save lives in the most testing of conditions,’ added Nigel.