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The Royal National Lifeboat Institution - Saves Lives at Sea



Mike McErlane the Senior Helmsman on Kinghorn Lifeboat received an invitation to attend at last week's Royal opening of the RNLI's new Lifeboat College in Poole.

The RNLI welcomed its patron, Her Majesty The Queen, to its headquarters in Poole for the Royal Opening of the world’s first Lifeboat College on 28 July 2004.

After being shown the specialist training facilities, The Queen, accompanied by The Duke of Edinburgh, declared it officially open. The Royal Party then posed for a photograph with 233 coxswains and helmsmen, representing the RNLI stations and volunteer crews that will benefit from the college.

Wearing a mint green tunic and cream hat with a lilac flower, Her Majesty then waved as all 233 lifeboatmen raised their hats and gave her three cheers, led by RNLI Chairman Sir Jock Slater.

Speaking at the opening, Sir Jock said: ‘I am delighted that our 233 stations around the coast of the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland are represented here today by their coxswains and helmsmen who, with their predominantly volunteer crews, last year launched operationally 8,109 times and rescued 7,987 people.’ He added: ‘Our crews – and all in support – deserve the finest equipment, the best training and the fullest support we can give them.’

The Royal Party was also shown around the integrated Survival Centre, which includes a lifeboat bridge simulator and a wave tank.

Declaring the Lifeboat College officially open, Her Majesty said: ‘Having just seen some of the excellent training that is already being delivered, I am certain that the Lifeboat College will play a vital role in helping the RNLI to save even more lives at sea. Therefore, it is with great pleasure that I declare The Lifeboat College open.’

Mike (35) a Boatmaster at Hound Point Oil Terminal, has been a volunteer crewman on Kinghorn Lifeboat for 18 years and has been a Helmsman for almost 7 years.

Mike thoroughly enjoyed his experience saying,"I was surprised to have been nominated to attend at this prestigious event. We spent a week down at Poole meeting the other volunteers and being shown the fantastic new facilities that will enhance the training available to new trainees in the future. A lot of money has been spent on these facilities, but with better training, the crews will be able to provide a more professional response and help to save even more lives, so I would have to say that it is money well spent!"