Sidmouth Lifeboat reveals new £9,000 jet ski
PUBLISHED: 07:00 11 June 2018 | UPDATED: 13:19 11 June 2018
Sidmouth’s coastline will be kept even safer following the unveiling of a £9,000 ‘rescue ski’ to help support lifeboat crews during emergency callouts.
Sidmouth Lifeboat will be able to be on-call at all times, launch quicker and navigate waters where its two lifeboats cannot, following the purchase of the Yamaha VX deluxe.
The craft has been hailed as a great asset in addition to the two main boats, Arctic and Speedy Sid, and has already taken part in two shouts, including the rescue of man lost at sea for two days. The independent charity has spent the last two years considering the benefit of the rescue ski, after watching similar vehicles used by other organisations.
Guy Russell, senior coxswain for Sidmouth Lifeboat, said: “It is not a toy, it’s a very capable rescue craft which will be used professionally.
“They [skis] are very capable. They won’t ever replace our lifeboats, which carry lots of kit, life support and oxygen. The ski is rapid to respond and easy to launch.
“It can do a lot of different jobs that the Arctic cannot. It is a phenomenal piece of kit.
“The jet ski is going to help save lives. It will make sure we are on call every day when someone needs our help.”
With 10 fully trained seagoing crew and seven trainees, the station works to make sure it can provide enough crew to launch the boats 24-hours-a-day, 365-days-a-year.
The lifeboat’s main craft, Arctic, requires four crew and a tractor driver. Speedy Sid is a two-man craft and is launched within seven to 10 minutes of a callout.
Phil Shepperd, Sidmouth Lifeboat operations manager, said: “We had lots of long discussions and it came down to the capability of it. We wanted something to respond quickly which is going to do a job.”
The rescue ski can be launched by two crew members within five minutes. It can carry three people, has a floating stretcher and first-aid equipment.
Crew will undergo training to achieve their RYA PWC qualification, which will require attending a course in Newquay to learn how to launch and navigate in surf water, and further training in-house at the lifeboat station.
The purchase has also been supported by Solent Coastguard, which said it was ‘fantastic’ and ‘moving with the times’.