East Sussex MVS exercises with Eastbourne RNLI

The East Sussex unit of the MVS has recently completed its fourth joint exercise with the RNLI Eastbourne Lifeboat, The Royal Thames. This involved the units boat East Sussex 1 (ES1) which is berthed in Sovereign Harbour, Eastbourne.


MVS East Sussex 1 on exercise with RNLI Lifeboat The Royal Thames


Whilst alongside, MVS were given the opportunity to see the RNLI methods for prioritising and extracting casualties. This was assisted by volunteers with realistic make-up and injuries.

This was followed by two very different exercises at sea:

In the first one, ES1 acted as a vessel lost in fog, suffering complete loss of power and with a number of casualties on board. Once the lifeboat had found ES1, the RNLI crew came onboard and dealt with the whole situation (including a difficult casualty who wanted his mate to be dealt with first) 

On completion, the lost vessel was towed to safety by the inshore lifeboat. 

In the second incident, ES1 was a vessel in the vicinity of a man-overboard situation and was asked by the RNLI to assist. This involved the lifeboat plotting the position of ES1 and then giving her a course, speed and distance to a start point to commence the first run of the search. During this run, a man-overboard (MOB) dummy was cast into the sea by the crew of ES1 who then reported a crew member missing. This obviously changed the whole situation. 

Both these incidents served as a testament to the invaluable local knowledge of the RNLI crews. For example, the MOB casualty would have been driven into Eastbourne Bay rather than have followed the tidal flow shown on the charts. 

As an fitting end to the exercises, as ES1 returned to Sovereign Harbour she was escorted by a school of porpoises! 

Working alongside the RNLI in this way, provided a great training opportunity and in return MVS was delighted to have been able to offer their training vessel to help the RNLI hone their skills. Both crews are looking forward to working together again in the near future