Thursday 3 October 2013

Baltimore RNLI Open Day

It was a damp and miserable Sunday afternoon in West Cork for the special open day at Baltimore lifeboat station. Following a redevelopment at the station house, members of the public had been invited to visit the state of the art facility at Bull Point.
As Baltimore RNLI is one of the two stations I actively support, I couldn't miss this opportunity to take a look.

The original station house, built in 1915 had undergone a facelift...

...and a new face had been added during this 2013 redevelopment scheme, which also included a newly excavated berth adjacent to the station house, for the Tamar class lifeboat. The RNLB Alan Massey (no. 1 boat) had arrived in 2012, and had had to be temporarily berthed at the main Baltimore quay until this point. (Unfortunately, I failed to take a shot of the new facade as I was in rather a hurry to get inside out of the sea mizzle.)

The spick-and-span locker rooms had all been refitted with purpose-built spaces for each piece of equipment, and the crewmen had their own named space to hang their coat and boots. I was pleased to see that in the bottom of each 'wardrobe' there had been the thoughtful addition of a heater, to help dry out the kit. (I can't think of anything worse than having to put on cold, wet, smelly gear that hasn't dried out from the last shout)

I overheard that apparently, a particular crewman was likely to have "the smelliest boots" according to one visitor pointing out the uncle's kit to a little boy.

In a second locker room we were met by an initially disconcerting sight. It appeared there might be reposed beings hanging upside-down a-la-bat-style... but it was just the immersion suits hanging up to dry (including one extra-long suit).

The whole inside of the boat-house area had also had a spruce-up, with the signs from the past being retained.

The class 75 RNLB Alice and Charles (no. 2 boat) is contained inside this near 100 year-old building, under a lovely recently revitalised timber-clad ceiling.

A great vantage point over the rib from the crew-room, and normally a great view from the windows out over the harbour too. However, the view was obscured by the fog, which had been (and still is) lingering over this corner of West Cork. It would have to be the traditional charts to provide us with our bearings.

A couple of beautifully inscribed items also adorned the crew-room. One showing heritage...

...the other, generosity.

And of course, some very important accessories that should be found in any crew room! Judging by the view out through the window, the cosy, comfort touch would be very welcome.

Outside, in the rain, sat the all weather, RNLB Alan Massey.

Tucked away at the back, a surprise boat no. 3, and along with boat no.1, were on show to the visitors who braved the weather to climb aboard, where the waiting crew were on hand to give a guided tour.

Crew seat - with friend.

Seats for the rescued.

And tucked away behind a normally closed door, in the front of the boat, an essential seat! (...the head).

More essential equipment, down below decks.

A bit of technical spec...

...and the technical looking power-house for this beacon of salvation.

And what did I make of my visit to RNLI Baltimore and the RNLB Alan Massey?

It served to reinforce my admiration for this amazing service.
A service that needs our support.
A service that we should fight to save. (As is the Coastguard - and that is another issue)

Thank you RNLI

1 comment:

  1. Wonderful photos - you can almost feel the atmosphere, and the spirit of this wonderful institution.


Thank you for taking time to visit my blog.
Please feel free to share this post and I would love to hear thoughts and feedback.