'Pop up lifeboat' made in Wales is saving lives in Japan

Crew training at Atlantic College Image copyright Nick Jaussi

A pop up lifeboat made in Wales has been saving lives on the other side of the world.

Created by Robin Jenkins, the Atlantic Pacific Lifeboat in a Box was built by UWC Atlantic College students.

The organisation identifies places with high drowning rates and supplies rescue boats, mobile lifeboat stations and volunteer crews.

"It's an unlikely but ingenious solution to a global problem," Mr Jenkins said.

The first Atlantic Pacific Lifeboat in a Box was sent to Kamaishi, Japan, in August 2015.

The lifeboat called Hahn 001, and now renamed Wales Go, was designed and constructed by UWC (United World College) students in the Vale of Glamorgan, as part of their International Baccalaureate Diploma.

It is a self-contained unit which can be delivered to any location in the world to operate immediately as a lifeboat station.

Inside is a bespoke lifeboat, a workshop for maintaining and fixing the lifeboat and a crew room, where crew can change and shelter from the weather.

Image copyright Atlantic Pacific
Image caption The Wales Go lifeboat in Japan

Every Lifeboat in a Box is specifically designed for the community that will receive it.

Jack Kenny, who is studying at the college, said he hoped to go on to work as part of the rescue crew from Atlantic Pacific, having worked with them for the last year.

"[Last year, we did one of three tasks including design and construction of the boats, the shipping container station, or the research and development of future AP sites," he said.

"We utilised a mould of a pre-existing boat and as we progressed, we identified ways in which we could make the boat better, more efficient, and more practical in the tasks it needed to complete."

Image copyright Laura Lewis
Image caption Crews in Japan look after the boat

Mr Jenkins set up the organisation following the 2011 tsunami in Japan.

"This is a project that we hope to grow around the world, delivering containers and training to areas that are most vulnerable to disaster, so that when the unbearable strikes, there is something to help.

"Lifeboat in a Box is an unlikely but ingenious solution to a global problem, providing crucial facilities for communities to rescue, not only tsunami survivors but also anyone in trouble at sea."

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