The International Maritime Rescue Federation (IMRF) has held its eighth European Lifeboat Crew Exchange Programme, with 72 maritime search and rescue (SAR) professionals from 14 countries across Europe taking part.
The programme was launched in 2012 and brings together volunteers from lifeboat organisations to train, share best practice and learn from each other.
Theresa Crossley, chief executive of IMRF said, "Each year the number of maritime SAR volunteers and organisations 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 organisations. 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.”
Lifeboat organisations from Germany, Norway, Finland, Sweden, the UK, the Netherlands, France, Estonia, Portugal and Croatia participated in the exchange whilst crew members from Bulgaria and Latvia, and for the very first time Russia and Canada, travelled across Europe to experience active duty with hosting organisations.
During the week-long exercise the crew members took part in simulated exercises, shared personal experiences of complex rescue situations and learnt new techniques and skills.
The IMRF has 118 member organisations including maritime rescue coordination centres, coast guards and volunteer response organisations in over 50 countries around the world.
By Rebecca Strong