Lifeboat Crews Across Europe Swap Places

Credit: IMRF

By The Maritime Executive 10-10-2019 04:34:55

The International Maritime Rescue Federation (IMRF) has successfully held its eighth European Lifeboat Crew Exchange Programme, with 72 maritime search and rescue (SAR) professionals from 14 countries across Europe taking part.

The program, which was launched in 2012 and runs each September, brings volunteers from lifeboat organizations together to train, share best practice and learn from each other, hosted by the participating groups.

Theresa Crossley, CEO IMRF says: "Each year the number of maritime SAR volunteers and organizations taking part in our crew exchange has grown, and every year the feedback from participants has been overwhelmingly positive, describing it as an incredibly useful and productive exercise. 

"The European Lifeboat Crew Exchange builds close and extremely collaborative bonds between SAR organizations. It also offers a very cost-effective way to develop our team's skills and expertise, not least because we all share the same common aim – to save more lives at sea.

"Maritime SAR professionals as you would expect, complete thorough, intensive and ongoing training and yet many lifeboat organizations around the world are voluntary and charitable organizations, as a result this cooperation maximizes the shared benefits and will significantly help to develop rescue capability across Europe."

Lifeboat organizations from Germany, Norway, Finland, Sweden, the U.K., the Netherlands, France, Estonia, Portugal and Croatia both sent teams to other locations and hosted teams from other countries. While crew members from lifeboat organizations in Bulgaria and Latvia, and for the very first time Russia and Canada, traveled across Europe to experience active duty with hosting organizations. 

During the week-long exercise (September 21-28) the crew members have taken part in simulated exercises, shared personal experiences of complex rescue situations and learned new techniques and skills.

All of the participants rated the week-long exchange as excellent or very good, with the most important benefits being the opportunity to learn new techniques and try out different resources.

Shawn Burchett from Royal Canadian Marine Search & Rescue spoke for many of the crew members when he said that his biggest takeaway was the participants shared passion to improve maritime SAR wherever they are in the world, and their excitement and energy which transcends borders and language barriers.

The IMRF has 118 member organizations who include maritime rescue coordination centers, coast guards and volunteer response organizations in over 50 countries around the world. The IMRF's mission is to bring the worlds' maritime search and rescue organizations together to share lifesaving ideas, technologies and experiences, to encourage cooperation all with the aim of improving maritime SAR capability worldwide.

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