FELIXSTOWE VOLUNTEER COAST PATROL RESCUE SERVICE

PROGRESS REPORT 12TH AUGUST 2014

'Firstly the trustees and committee would like to express a belated thanks to Felixstowe Ferry Harbour Master John White, his wife Anne, Asst HM Stephen Read, friends and all those who supported John an Anne's New Years Day fund raising event in aid of the service which raised £620. Following the services disastrous accident, whilst being tasked to the East Coast Flood Emergency on the evening of the 5th December 2013 and which resulted in three crewmen being taken to A&E, the vehicle being written off and our patrol/lifeboat was badly damaged. It was doubtful that this annual fund raising event would take place as our volunteers moral was rock bottom. However John White's encouragement and insistence that it was now even more important than usual, was a terrific boost for the team. It was envisaged that it would take a full year to recover prior to the service being fully functional with some commentators even claiming that the service was finished? Our meagre funds were used to purchase another launch vehicle leaving us virtually broke. Whilst 'Volunteer' was being repaired we had with some persuasion procured a replacement boat with the help of the Suffolk Police & Crime Commissioner. This ex Essex Police Boat 'Seaxe' was apptly re-named 'Guardian' after the service's 1st RHIB brought into service eighteen years ago.  After considerable work by volunteers 'Guardian' had her first sea trials and first patrol on the 5th July 2014 and within hours was apptly tasked by HM Coastguard to assist HM John White with a grounded Dutch sloop on Deben Bar. The very next day 'Guardian' was tasked again to a Mayday call from a Charter Angling Boat aground on the notorious Cork Sands and in danger of breaking up. 'Guardian' had to navigate through the treacherous shoals to reach the casualty some five miles offshore and was on-scene within 18 minutes. 'Guardian' stood by alongside the casualty until the arrival of the Harwich ALB (Lifeboat) some twenty minutes later, and with a concerted effort by the two rescue assets the casualty was eventually re-floated.

During the Felixstowe Carnival whilst a partially repaired 'Volunteer' was being towed in the procession, 'Guardian' was tasked on two separate occasions by Coastguard to deal with three speedboats operating dangerously close to swimmers at the resort. On Carnival Sunday 'Guardian' was CAA approved 'Crash Boat' for the Air Display and later that evening was required as 'Guard Boat' for the Firework Display exclusion zone surrounding the Felixstowe Pier. On Sunday 3 August our team attended the Secret Seashore Event at Landguard Museum with 'Volunteer' and where 'Guardian' after escorting the Felixstowe Pirate Walk along the prom gave a man overboard demo off the viewpoint. She had already, during the day towed in a broken down powerboat with eight persons onboard and had been tasked to a Mayday call concerning a dismasted yacht off Harwich. Due to crippling finances and circumstances beyond our control we have only to date managed six patrols so far, yet 'Guardian' has handled seven incidents involving some twenty persons and a dog.

John Cresswell

Chairman