Potters Bar lifesavers boat feat

LANDLOCKED Potters Bar is the unlikely home of a crack team of sea rescuers.

On Saturday, four members of Potters Bar Lifesaving Club reached the semi-finals of the British Inshore Rescue Boat Championships organised by the Surf Lifesaving Association of Great Britain.

At the event, in Bournemouth, Alistair Strong, Richard Pingram, Cameron Hart and Ryan Houldsworth competed against teams from eight other clubs in several events.

The scenarios were designed to demonstrate speed and skill in rescuing casualties from the sea, using Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) standard Arancia inflatable rescue boats fitted with powerful outboard motors.

Driver Alistair had to race down the beach to where his crewman, Richard, was steadying the boat, start the engine, and power the craft over the waves to save ‘casualties’ Cameron and Ryan, who were in the sea some distance from the shore.

One event simulated rescues in hazardous locations such as rocks, where the boat would not be able to come close to the casualty.

Richard had to dive in, swim to the casualty and tow them back to the boat.

Most Read

Alistair then piloted the boat back to the beach as quickly as possible, racing to get back before the other teams.

The standard of competition was very high and the eight other clubs entered a total of 24 teams in the various events.

Potters Bar was the only team not based on the coast and, therefore, without the opportunity for regular practice in the surf.

The team was “delighted” to reach the semi-finals in all three competitions they entered, demonstrating that good training, fitness and enthusiasm can achieve great results.

The club meets every Tuesday at the Furzefield Centre in Potters Bar, and trains people of all ages from 11 upwards in lifesaving and lifeguarding skills leading to qualifications recognised by the Royal Lifesaving Society and the Surf Lifesaving Association of Great Britain.

A spokesman said: “As an inland club, it is unusual in owning its own inshore rescue boat and there are regular training trips to the south coast and Cornwall to learn and hone surf lifesaving skills.”

• Anyone interested in learning more about the club can contact Carl Goulding, the chief coach, on 07970 336668, or just turn up at Furzefield pool on a Tuesday evening at 8pm.