Lifesaving charity, the Royal National Lifeboat Institution, is aiming to take the stress out of safety at a popular Hampshire destination with the help of special ‘lifejacket lockers’ for boaters.
Working together, the RNLI and Buckler’s Hard Yacht Harbour on the Beaulieu River have installed a set of lifejacket lockers, to encourage people to wear lifejackets on board their tenders when going ashore.
The aim is to offer short-term secure storage for people who visit Buckler’s Hard Yacht Harbour, and comes in the wake of research by the RNLI that showed many boat users can often be put off wearing their lifejacket aboard their tender because of the ‘hassle factor’ of having nowhere secure to store them once ashore.
The feedback suggested people are less likely to wear the important safety measure because they don’t wish to carry their lifejacket once ashore.
The initiative is being run by the RNLI in conjunction with Buckler’s Hard Yacht Harbour, and is the first of its kind in the Solent area. The roll-out follows a successful trial in the south west, with the other locations being in Devon and Cornwall.
The RNLI supply the lockers to harbours and locations free of charge providing they meet the criteria, along with signage. It’s hoped the scheme, aimed at visiting sailors and motor cruisers coming ashore in tenders, will help curb preventable accidents between moored vessels and the shore.
The eight lockers will be located at the visitors’ pontoon from now until mid-September. Each locker is big enough to hold four lifejackets.
Jon Oxenham from the RNLI’s coastal safety team is leading the trial. He said:
“It’s not only important to wear a lifejacket whilst on your boat, but also while in your tender and going to and from your vessel. We know that equipment can be bulky to carry around once on land and that’s why we provide these lockers. It’s really positive to know that more boat users are taking the RNLI’s advice and not removing their lifejackets before they reach the shore. It will help towards the charity’s goal of ending preventable loss of life at sea.”
Beaulieu River Harbour Master Wendy Stowe said:
“While the Beaulieu River is one of only a few privately-owned estuaries in the world and we are keen that it remains an unspoilt natural haven, we are also introducing changes for the future. We are proud to be chosen by the RNLI as the first harbour to have these lockers in the Solent area.”
For more information on lifejacket lockers, and tips for staying safe on or near the water, click here.