Clacton-on-Sea

England, United Kingdom

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Covid-19 had 'huge impact' on RNLI training

Laurence Cawley

BBC News

When the national lockdown came into effect in March, the RNLI found itself in the peculiar position of suddenly having more crew available than ever before.

But while they had lots of people available, they have not been able to gather to train.

"We are slowly now returning to an element of training," says Graeme Richardson, the RNLI's area lifesaving manager.

"And actually this evening in Clacton, our D Class lifeboat will be going out for its first exercise since lockdown."

D class lifeboat
BBC
This D Class inshore lifeboat will be used tonight for the first crew training session since lockdown began back in March

The number of callouts during lockdown did drop significantly overall. However, the RNLI in Essex did see a rise in call-outs to what the service refers to "despondent people": people reported missing or those who might pose a danger to themselves.

'We'd be surprised if there wasn't some activity here today,' says RNLI

Laurence Cawley

BBC News

Clacton Lifeboat station
BBC

"We'd be surprised if there wasn't some activity here today," says Graeme Richardson, the RNLI's area lifesaving manager from the station at Clacton.

"These days, the calm days, are actually some of the most dangerous. People assume that when the wind and when there's lots of rain those are the dangerous times, but actually on days like today, people find themselves having a false sense of security."

His advice for staying safe at the beach includes making a note of the tide times (low tide was midday in Clacton) and staying within your depth in the water.

"But most importantly if you see somebody in trouble dial 999 and ask for the Coastguard," he said.