The Portland SAR helicopter, which will be stood down from operation around the Dorset coast today (30 June), was recently filmed on a farewell training session with Poole lifeboat volunteers in Poole Bay.
In a thank you to Portland SAR, which ceases operation around the Dorset coast today (30 June), RNLI Poole lifeboat volunteers have issued a video clip of a demonstration recently held with the search and rescue helicopter.
Poole lifeboat crews past and present have worked alongside the helicopter winch men and crews of the SAR helicopters based at Portland, in training and in earnest for many years.
The last exercise took place recently with longest serving RNLI volunteers helmsmen Jonathan Clark and Gavin McGuinness along with two new recruits, trainee helm Suzie Jupp and trainee crew Dave Huggins. The Poole Atlantic lifeboat was in Poole Bay working side-by-side, practising winching drills, all those taking part agreed it was a very good session and a mutually beneficial exercise, though a poignant one as it was to be the last.
Senior helm Gavin McGuiness reflected, “Jon and myself have worked alongside Portland SAR helo for many years and had some memorable and successful services together, it’s sad to lose that asset with the concern that it’s a backup we no longer have.”
Poole Lifeboat’s longest serving volunteer Jonathan Clark added, “The helicopter based at Portland has been a great asset and I can recall lots of ‘shouts’ where we have worked together, many scenarios that you reflect on, lifting off the back of the all-weather lifeboat, working together under extreme pressure, real teamwork.
“To all the crews that were based at Portland we wish them well and sincerely thank them for all their support.”
It is reported that although the Maritime and Coastguard Agency has ceased SAR operations today from the helicopter base on Portland, the base will have a refuelling facility for the search and rescue helicopter, which will have to come from Lee-on-Solent in Hampshire.
The Poole lifeboat crews recently conducted a demonstration with the SAR helicopter at the recent Poole Maritime event and you can view it by following this link