Shoreham’s lifeboat crew have continued their tradition of showing how the RNLI carry out life saving at sea by hosting a visit by a team of rookie Japanese coastguards.
A group of five from the Japan Coast Guard visited the crew at Shoreham lifeboat station on Sunday 31 July, continuing an annual tradition, which is now in its 13th year.
The trainees, who are based in London during a two-week exchange visit, travelled to Shoreham to find out how maritime search and rescue in the UK and Ireland differs from in their native land.
Established in 1948, the Japan Coast Guard is a government organisation responsible for search and rescue, security of territorial waters and law enforcement at sea. The agency also has its own training academy in Hiroshima entitled the Japan Coast Guard Academy, an educational institute which trains students to become officers and future leading members.
The visitors were shown around the lifeboat station and the D class inshore lifeboat and then went out onboard the Tamar class all weather lifeboat.
They were presented with RNLI baseball caps by Shoreham lifeboat coxswain Steve Smith.
Dave Simmonds, volunteer crew member at Shoreham lifeboat station said that the annual visit provided an excellent learning opportunity for both parties, and revealed there is one thing which year in year out never fails to amaze the students.
He said: “The Japanese trainees are always shocked that RNLI lifeboats are crewed entirely by volunteers. I suppose that because the Japanese government runs their coastguard, they expect to find a similar set up in other countries.
‘They initially chose Shoreham because it is one of the most straightforward lifeboat stations on the coast to visit – it’s only an hour and a half on the train from London and our train station is a short walk from the lifeboat station. I think the fact that this visit is now in its 13th year proves how useful the Japanese coastguard trainees find it.”