The pandemic has tested RNLI Teddington in many ways but the crew’s ability to rescue at sea has not differed, the lifeboat station claim.
RNLI Teddington, created in 2002, is one of the newest lifeboat stations, and has become one of four working across the River Thames.
Gianna Saccomani, RNLI Deputy Lifeboat Press Officer and Crew said: “On a normal year, RNLI Teddington has an incredible, dedicated team who regularly fundraise in the local area, but since the arrival of the pandemic it hasn’t been possible.”
As for many charities, the RNLI has seen a drop in donations and with people not being about to visit the station, it makes it even more difficult.
The RNLI crew haven’t experienced a massive drop or increase in call-outs, regardless of the pandemic, and the team have had a typical steady rate of rescues to attend to.
Saccomani said: “There was a lot more people who used the river to go paddleboarding in the first lockdown last year.
“In 2020 the station launched the lifeboats 51 times and already the station has had to make call outs 8 times this year.”
RNLI crew have had to pull together despite the strict COVID-19 guidelines, so they are still able to launch lifeboats to those in trouble in or around the River Thames.
Saccomani said they receive a range of different reasons for call outs.
She added: “From evacuating a sick casualty, helping police search for a missing person or assisting a report from a member of the public who thought someone wearing a grey hoodie was in the water, only to find out it was in fact a seal.
“We all share a passion, at RNLI, to help those in trouble in and around the water and make sure everyone is alright.”
The crew at RNLI also stresses that river users check river conditions first and wear a personal floatation device if possible as the River Thames is a tidal downstream of Teddington Lock.
Since the pandemic started the crew at Teddington RNLI have kept in regular contact with each other to ensure there is still a safe launch and recovery of the lifeboats despite restrictions.
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Featured image credit: Hsq7278 via Wikipedia Commons under CC 4.0 license