BAS South Georgia show support for UK Lifeboat Charities
Friday 18th February was the second annual “Go Orange for Indies” charity event to raise awareness for the 60 or so 'independent' Lifeboats around the UK. These Lifeboat Services provide a critical augmentation to the UK's Maritime Search and Rescue capability. The crews are unpaid, and receive no expenses for their dedication to the safety of lives at sea. Many of these lifeboats operate on call 24 hours a day 365 days per year and respond to hundreds of emergency calls each year. Despite this, all of these independent services also have to raise their own funds, and often the crews themselves take the initiative to procure precious donations to keep the lifeboats maintained and the crews properly trained and equipped. These services receive no funding or operational support from the RNLI.
Matt Kenney, a Boating Officer and Coxswain for the British Antarctic Survey in South Georgia was a volunteer crew member aboard Hamble Lifeboat prior to taking up his post with BAS. The Hamble Lifeboat, an independent service based on the south coast of England, is one of the busiest lifeboat services in the UK, responding to hundreds of distress calls each year, and saving many hundreds of lives since its foundation in 1968. Despite his current deployment 8500 miles away from the lifeboat station, Matt still feels part of this close knit community, and to show his support for the Go Orange event persuaded his colleagues at the Scientific Research Station at King Edward Point on South Georgia Island in the Southern Ocean to join him in ‘Going Orange for Indies’. The accompanying photograph was taken by Matt and shows the team dressed in orange to show their support. The photo was staged on the Wharf at the Research Station and features one of the stations highly equipped Humber Ribs which provides Search and Rescue capability as well as a host of other operation support roles to the South Georgia Science Program.
Speaking of the event Matt commented: “It was a great privilege to serve with the Hamble Lifeboat, and the service is still very important to me, so for my colleagues here at BAS to join me in showing support for the Independent Lifeboats was truly fantastic. We all had great fun dressing up and we all had lots of laughs in the process. The prize for the ‘most orange effort’ went to Andy Webb, BAS Engineer for his use of a survival bag as a cape, and Ashley Perrin for her generous use of orange hair dye. I hope our contribution will help raise awareness of the often overlooked independent lifeboat services.”
Rob Webster, the Base Commander added; “We were extremely glad as a base to add our support to the Orange campaign and do our little bit to support the vital work of independent lifeboat crews around the UK. Having Matt on station with the expertise he has brought from his time as part of the Hamble Lifeboat is invaluable to our search and rescue capability, which in turn is so important to life and work on a remote research station. To know that there are crews of dedicated and unpaid staff around the UK committed to the safety of seafarers at any time of night or day is a genuinely inspiring example and I hope they continue to gather support and the financial and political assistance necessary to make it possible”.