The crews of the RNLI's lifeboats are required to undertake regular exercises. With the lifeboats now carrying a range of practical and electronic equipment, every crew members needs to meet and be assessed on the operation of the kit.
The two Cromer lifeboats aim to exercise at least twice a month. The All-Weather Lifeboat, (the ALB), the larger lifeboat stationed at the end of the pier, generally has its exercises on Sunday morning, though evening launches and night-time exercises are also undertaken. Every few months the Lifeboat Inspector visits and goes through a formal exercise with the crew, to make sure all is in good order.
The Inshore Lifeboat (ILB) exercises on Sunday mornings through the winter and also frequently exercises on Wednesday evenings. With electronic maps now being available on the ILB, navigation for search patterns has become more important as a skill, as well as correct use of the radio systems.
There is one slight problem at Cromer in respect of exercises with the ALB. The lifeboat does not launch on exercise unless the weather conditions allow the rehousing of the boat at Cromer. The lifeboat will launch in all conditions for an emergency, but in the worst of weather, it is not possible to get the boat back onto the pier slipway. Under such circumstances, the lifeboat will have to head for the nearest harbour, generally Great Yarmouth. She is then brought back to Cromer as soon as conditions permit. It's always awkward having to explain why the lifeboat sometimes doesn't launch for exercises and displays!
Pictures are from the ALB exercise of 26th April 2015