Huge Congratulations to our Lifeboat Operations Manager Mike Walters on Receiving his MBE in recognition of his commitment and service to Loughor Lifeboat. Very well deserved!!!
The Lifeboat is one of around 63 independent Lifeboats set up around the country, who are not part of the RNLI and receive no funding from them, although they work together on exercises and call-outs.
The service started with a small, second hand 12 foot flat bottomed inflatable boat, and a second hand 25 H.P. outboard motor, given to them by the Ferryside Inshore Rescue Service (another St. John Ambulance Unit, 25 miles further along the coast).
In l973 enough money had been raised locally, and with significant help from Avon Inflatables, a 4 metre rigid hull inflatable boat with a 40 H.P. outboard motor was purchased. This was a much faster boat and gave greater safety to her crew.
During l977 the service saw the opportunity to purchase a 5.4 metre sea rider with centre console and 70 H.P. motor to replace the existing boat. The new boat was much bigger and faster, and increased the operational capability of the service. With this craft there would be very few conditions when the boat would not be able to launch.
As with all equipment, in l988 the crew were faced with the problem of having to replace the boat. Having no parent organisation to give them a new boat, the crew and supporters set about the arduous task of raising enough funds, not only to keep the existing boat operational, but to buy a new one as well. After much hard work by all the crew members, and again with help from Avon Inflatables, a purpose built 5.4 metre twin-engined lifeboat was purchased. The boat was named ‘Community Spirit’ in recognition of all the hard work and support received from the local community. The hull, tube and engine specifications allowed the boat to operate in the most difficult of circumstances. She was the most advanced boat of her class, carried up-to-date equipment, and had the most technically advanced communication equipment and engines.
In August 1998 “Community Spirit” was replaced by “Community Spirit II”, another 5.4 Metre Avon Sea-rider class boat. This boat was now made with orange fabric, for greater visibility. The communication and navigation equipment has all been updated, the centre console has also been slightly modified. She is a boat that we are all very proud of.
Since starting in 1969, the boat and crew has never failed to answer an emergency call-out, something the crew are justifiably proud of. Up to May 31st 2018, the service has responded to 1032 call-outs, saved 379 lives, 45 Animals and has had the unfortunate task of recovering numerous casualties from the water, too late to save, all of which has been done on a voluntary basis. No crew member receives any payment, for either exercise or callouts, each crew member giving their time freely and with no question of personal reward.
Since 1969 the Loughor Inshore Rescue Service has had 7 Coxswains namely Mr. Wilf Pitman, Mr. Vince Davies, Mr. Ken Snow, Mr. Nigel Richards, Mr Steve Weeks,Mr. Colin Davies, Mike Rankin and presently Darren Wilson
Since starting, 8 past and present crew members have received long service medals and 2 crew members have received bars to long service medals. For 23 years the Inshore Rescue Service was a division of the St. John Ambulance Brigade until in 1992, for increased operational requirements, the service became a self-standing and independent charity, as authorised by the Charities Commissioners.
The Rescue Service has had a long standing history of working closely with all the other emergency services, in particular The HM Coastguard, who are the principal emergency call-out agents for the boat, The RAF Air-Sea Rescue Helicopters, The RNLI, The Police, The Fire and Rescue Service, The Ambulance Service , The Air Ambulance and The RSPCA.
Each year the service finds it more and more difficult to maintain the current level of service and operation. It receives no government support and survives entirely on voluntary contributions received from the public, or donations from local councils, industries and businesses. The coxswain, crew and members of the Loughor Inshore Rescue Service would like to thank you for your past and continuing support.
Today’s Inshore Lifeboat is a modern Ribcraft class B boat, It is 5.85 metres long with a beam of 2.03 metres and weighs 600 kgs. The tube is divided into 5 chambers, the boat would stay afloat with up to 3 chambers being damaged and has a carrying capacity of 750 kgs, approx 1650 lbs. It is powered by twin 60HP outboard Yamaha engines. Depending on weather conditions and load, the boat has a maximum speed of approximately 40 knots.
It carries the latest in communication AIS and satellite navigation equipment, together with all the other equipment you would expect to find on an inshore lifeboat; first aid and resuscitation equipment, parachute flares, tool kits, life jackets, survival and towing equipment, search lights, not to forget the important backup equipment. This includes a portable radio, hand compass, stop watch (should the electronic navigation system fail), and waterproof writing materials. Both engine systems on the boat are totally independent, having separate controls, batteries and fuel. Should the electrical systems completely fail, the engines have alternative methods of starting and stopping.