Ryde Inshore Rescue’s New 8 Metre RIBCRAFT Complete with Icom Communication Equipment

Ryde Inshore Rescue’s New 8 Metre RIBCRAFT Complete with Icom Communication Equipment

Throughout the UK, a large body of men and women give up their time and risk their lives for the safety of people at sea. The RNLI and 70 other independent lifeboats provide an essential service which is not supported by government funding and is solely reliant on charitable donations. Icom radios are very popular among these important voluntary emergency services.

Ian Lockyer, Marketing Manager of Icom UK, went to visit one of these independent lifeboats on the Isle of Wight, Ryde Inshore Rescue, who had just taken ownership of a new boat. He went to ask them about the pressures they face, the work that they do and why radio is so important.

Ryde Inshore Rescue was formed 63 years ago, primarily as a beach lifeguard service. It has dramatically developed over the years. In 1985, after the original lifeboat station burnt down, Ryde Rescue moved further down the beach where it was given land to build a new station. After much fundraising, the facility was built and developed over time into a two-storey building, training centre and two boat service.

Ryde Inshore rescue provides safety coverage from Osbourne Bay to St Helen's and out towards the mid-channel. They currently have 26 volunteers, 18 are operational boat crew and the remainder are committee members, shore crew and fundraisers. Boat crew are on standby 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Ady Farrell, Coxswain for Ryde Inshore Rescue, said, ’The service is busiest in Summer month. The Isle of Wight is very holiday based and the Solent is one of the busiest stretches of water around. From Easter to September the population almost doubles on the Island and obviously where we are, on a couple of miles of sandy beach, you usually get a lot of families.

‘Our new boat is an 8 metre, four-seater RIBCRAFT. Our last RIB was a three-seater, so we have gained an extra seat. We have had it in the water since October, and she has surpassed all our expectations. She is much bigger than our last one with so much more space for casualties and our equipment.’

Ady said, ‘we were also very fortunate to have a smaller inshore craft 4-meter RIB capable of Beach Rescue. One of the areas we must cover is Ryde Pier which is one of the oldest and longest piers in the country. With the smaller boat that can get under the pier and rescue.

‘Our old boat was 6.4 metres RIBCRAFT which we had for over a decade. Ten plus years is a long time in service for this type of boat but there was physically nothing wrong with her as she was regularly serviced and had been retubed. It was getting to the stage though that she needed an overhaul to meet modern challenges. The department of transport was offering grants for independent stations, beach rescue and flood rescue stations around the country. We were fortunate that we also had a sum of money donated to us. The amount was nowhere near enough to buy another boat but the committee decided to put the money towards the new boat fund. We then applied for the grant for which we were lucky enough to be approved and that’s how we raised the majority of the money for the new craft. If we hadn’t got the grant, the money would have been spent on improvement to the old boat and she would still be in service with us now.’

‘For this new boat, we went for the IC-M400BB in the small console. Good radio communication is everything. If you can’t communicate with Solent Coastguard we can’t communicate with the casualty vessel. Radios give us the confidence to know that we are always in contact with somebody…they are essential.’

‘Ryde Inshore Rescue has been using Icom radios since I have been involved and that must be over nine years. On our old boat, we had an Icom fixed radio with AIS. With the new boat, we wanted to go for the IC-M400BB black box radio to ensure we had the best comms but also to ensure we got the install tighter…so we didn’t have big holes in consoles.’

He added, ‘Icom is a quality brand. There are cheaper radios out there, are they as good? You pay for what you get, and you get quality with Icom.’

Looking to the future of the station? Ady said, ‘There is always something more and better than we can do, but as an independent lifeboat we are always reliant on the funds we can raise. Our launching is the next thing we need to look at. We are situated on the sands and to launch in a 5 foot swell can be very damaging to equipment...that’s what we need to work on.’

If you are interested in volunteering and making a difference and you live in Ryde, Ady said, ‘We take anybody from any walk of life…just contact us as long as you are fit and able to withstand going out in a small boat when things are a bit uncomfortable. We also have shore crew and volunteers who work in our shop which is run by a couple of fantastic ladies.’

He added, ’We have just relaunched our website which is https://www.rydeinshorerescue.com/. Everything you need to know is there including links to our Just Giving page and contact details if you want to volunteer. We are also involved with an Isle of Wight lottery which supports not only us but two other independent lifeboats on the Island.’


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