New Water Rescue Stretcher for Sea Rescue Service

  • St Helena Sea Rescue Service receives new water rescue stretcher from the MCA through the CSSF
  • The new stretcher was tested on Wednesday, 27 May
  • The stretcher has improved features adapted to work on rocky coastlines as found around St Helena

The St Helena Sea Rescue Service recently trained with and tested a new water rescue stretcher on Wednesday, 27 May, which was funded by the MCA (UK Maritime Coastguard Agency) through the CSSF (Conflict, Stability and Security Fund) and donated to the Sea Rescue Service.

During 2019, the Sea Rescue Service responded to a call where they were required to extract a casualty from the rocky shoreline to a Sea Rescue vessel using a water rescue stretcher. It was evident from the crew’s debrief that there were issues with the water rescue stretcher in use. The Sea Rescue Service made enquiries for a more suitable stretcher to deal with the conditions around St Helena’s coast and found a stretcher which was developed by the Plettenberg Bay NSRI (National Sea Rescue Institute) for rocky coastline and surf rescue.

Some of the features of the new stretcher include:

  • A stable platform on which a casualty can be carried over rough terrain and on narrow paths with ease
  • A design that will not capsize easily in surf
  • A backboard with a spider harness and head blocks that are easily removable
  • A shoulder strap design to help the stretcher bearers take the weight of a patient
  • A solid pontoon so that it cannot be punctured
  • A rigid platform base that will allow for CPR to be performed on it
  • A fibreglass hull with nylon skids protecting the underside when sliding over rocks
  • A design that is as comfortable as possible for the casualty while in the water with a hood that deflects surf
  • A streamline platform to allow effective towing
  • A lightweight design (just 20kg – including the back board).

The stretcher was designed in 2018/19 and is now being utilised by many rescue services around the world.

Members of the Sea Rescue Team training with and testing the new water rescue stretcher at Prosperous Bay Beach

Deputy Sea Rescue Manager, Craig Scipio, said:

“This stretcher has improved the service’s capability in this type of rescue. It is a very versatile piece of equipment that has numerous benefits, is very well designed, and the build quality is good.

“On the last weekly training session, the Sea Rescue team had the opportunity to test the stretcher in a casualty extrication exercise which was setup and carried out at Prosperous Bay Beach. The exercise was a success and the team was very happy with the new stretcher and the improved features. They felt confident that it would serve the community well if/when it is used in a rescue.”

#StHelena #SeaRescueService #NewWaterRescueStretcher #MCA #CSSF

10 June 2020

St Helena Government Communications Hub

Telephone: 22470