Thermal imaging binoculars have been purchased by Exmouth RNLI for use on their Shannon Class All Weather Lifeboat, R and J Welburn.
These sophisticated binoculars target heat emissions, providing excellent vision in daylight, low light and complete darkness, and enabling volunteer lifeboat crew to detect and identify vessels and individuals at sea in low or no light situations.
The specialist binoculars were purchased through donations that included funds raised and donated by the prime donor, St. Peters Preparatory School, Lympstone, together with other funding received from the Jurassic Coast Classic Mini Club, Exe Sailing Club, Topsham Sailing Club and other generous contributors.
Exmouth Second Coxswain, Scott Ranft said “This new equipment is an infra-red device that gives the lifeboat crew a means of searching and locating casualties both at sea and along the shore, cliffs and beaches. It will detect heat sources up to and beyond a mile away depending on their size, and it works by showing an electronic image made up of areas of contrasting temperature displayed as different shades, from white through grey to black – a person will show up white against a black cold background.
“Previously we have relied on a night vision monocular which enhances available ambient light and its effectiveness is inconsistent. Whilst this device assists a search at night, the binoculars are a step change in our ability to locate people and small craft.
“It is fantastic to be provided with this invaluable equipment through donations. The camera has already proved its value when a missing person was located on the cliffs at Exmouth in the dark.”
Mrs Charlotte Johnston, Head at St Peter’s Preparatory School said “St Peter’s has a great record of producing top sailors, including former pupil and current parent sailing Olympian Ben Rhodes, and is currently schooling national champions, Will and Josh, who won this year’s Independent Association of Prep Schools’ National Championships in the U11 RS Feva class. Consequently, we know how vital it is that, living by the coast and with our pupils enjoying a variety of water activities, help is at hand in the form of the Exmouth RNLI should children find themselves in difficulties.
“Not only did our pupils want to raise money for such a worthy cause by cake sales, guessing the number of sweets in the jar, welly flinging and performing their nativity at a nursing home in return for a donation to the RNLI, but we are also very grateful to members of the crew at Exmouth RNLI for taking time to educate St Peter’s pupils with regard to the dangers of the water and showing them how their lifeboat station operates. My heartfelt thanks also go to the PTA and parents at St Peter’s for a hugely successful Boats and Balloons Ball which added significantly to the fundraising effort. We are thrilled to be able to help to purchase this equipment for the lifeboat station.”
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