Last weekend saw the annual Rib Exhibition at Cowes Yacht Haven on the Isle of Wight. The International event attracted thousands of people from all over the world looking for a new boat, equipment or to simply drool at the variety on offer.
TV Personality Bear Grylls opened the event and despite the cold, windy weather the public started flocking through the entrance gate. Appropriately positioned so as not to miss, the first thing you would have seen on entering was Portsea Rescue’s Lifeboat along with a mannequin dressed in full drysuit, lifejacket and rescue equipment... Welcome to the I-Lifeboat stand!
Manned by the volunteer crew that operate in the Solent area the Independent Lifeboats were chosen by show Organiser Hugo Montgomary Swan to be this year’s nominated charity. The stand provided information on all the lifeboat stations in the UK that operate outside the auspices of the RNLI and also had equipment on display showing what donations are spent on. Running throughout the 3 days was a competition to guess the number of marbles in the jar, with the closest guess winning a Nintendo DSi donated by an anonymous donor. Counting on the last day revealed the jar contained 430 marbles, with the closest guess (also being the first!) being only 2 out at 428.
Whilst collecting on site the lifeboat crews spoke to the public making them aware of our existence and managed to ensure that 95% of every person at Ribex left wearing the I-Lifeboat sticker; including Bear Grylls!
Twice a day various units from the area put on a waterborne display, demonstrating the practicalities of their craft and also giving safety advice on how to stay safe should you find yourself in the unfortunate position of ending up in the water. The casualty roles were played by very willing lifeboat crew, meaning if you turned up at Ribex with a drysuit you were going in, a good way to test if your suit had any leaks (Next year I must remember to leave my drysuit at home)!
The 3 day event supplemented by Ribfest, where we were also allowed to collect proved a huge success raising awareness to everyone far and wide, and we managed to raise enough money to cover a large amount of the set up costs for the event.
I am pleased to say that we have been invited back next year and would like to thank the organisers and compares’ for continually promoting us throughout the event.
See you next year!