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Clare writes inspirational romance, usually of a suspenseful nature. Her books are available through her publisher Pelican Book Group and Amazon. She is married with three kids and lives in the UK. She loves watching sci-fi, crime drama, cross stitching, reading and baking.

Sunday, 22 July 2012

My research trip to Hayling Island Lifeboat Station

Sunday 15th July, the one dry day in weeks, which was just as well, as hubby, 2/3 kids and me set off on a 90 mile trip to the coast (yes that's one way mileage) to visit Hayling Island RNLI station for research purposes. Armed with a notebook and camera and a list of questions 10 miles long, I needed lots of information for Sunday's Child. The hero of that novel, Cal Trant, works on a lifeboat.
The D.A.L - deputy lifeboat authority - Graham Raines MBE spent three hours answering all my questions.

Despite what the TV adverts claim - the AA is NOT the 4th emergency service. That's the coastguard. Not many people know that you can call the coastguard as well as police, fire and ambulance by dialling 999. I did -- and not just because it was a question on Pointless a few months back!

 Hayling Island is an inshore lifeboat station and protects a vast portion of shoreline along with Chichester Harbour. these guys all have full time jobs and carry a pager which can go off at any time of the day or night. The helmsman I spoke to said he even takes the pager into the shower now to save his wife having to bang on the bathroom door when it goes off. He is even tempted to wear his fleece bunny-suit at Christmas now, as the pager has gone off mid Christmas dinner for the past five years.

The larger lifeboat has a crew of four - see above. They posed very nicely for me having just got back from a training exercise. The smaller boat has a crew of three. They are one huge family, looking out for each other, treating the kids to a pantomine at Christmas and so on.

Being an inshore lifeboat, the boats don't have a ramp to go whizzing down on a launch. They are launched and retrieved by tractor - see above. On a launch the engines are already running before the boat hits the water. It always launches forwards, thus on retrieval has to be reversed onto the trailer. Hard enough on a flat calm as above. Very hard in the dark and a force 8 gale.

All the men are volunteers. They do not get paid for risking their lives going out in storms to rescue people.

The minimum age of a lifeboat crew is 17. The max age is 45. The ave age is 20-30. They have three duty shifts at Hayling Island. Red, white and blue, working one week and then two weeks off. But as no one is full time, and some of them work on the main land, the pager could go off on a week off.

They have rescued a horse, a bull and even a swarm of bees.

The Lifeboat Prayer

Merciful Father, all things in heaven and earth are held within Your loving
care, look with favour upon the Royal National Lifeboat Institution. Protect
and bless the crews of all our lifeboats, our lifeguards and all who risk their
own safety to bring help to others.

Guide all who work for the Institution as volunteers, supporters or staff that
they may be faithful to the vision of our founders, so that it may always be
seen as a beacon of hope and light to those who find themselves in peril on
the seas. Through the same Jesus Christ, to whom with You and the Holy
Spirit be honour and glory, now and forever.



Patty said...

Really neat research! And it looks like you enjoyed it, too. :)

Marianne Evans said...

What an awesome research trip, Clare! Great photos and insights. Looking forward to Sunday's Child!!!

Donna B said...

Thanks for sharing, Clare! Nice job!

Tanya Hanson said...

What an awesome research trip, Clare. I love the pix, the prayer, and can hardly believe those heroes do it for free!

LoRee Peery said...

What an adventure, for all involved. Thanks so much for sharing. It will help us readers "see" what's going on when we get into Sunday's Child.

Susan Lyttek said...

What a lot of fun information. Can't wait to see how you turn it into a book!