Safe at sea with "RC Jotun"
With advanced technology, a volunteer crew and a penguin mascot on board, the Red Cross boat "RC Jotun" makes sea life in Sandefjord, Norway safe.
– We´ve got the best hobby in the world. Especially on a sunny day like today!
Kent Vidar Eide (40) puts on a big smile as he climbs aboard the "RC Jotun". It is an early Saturday morning in June, and together with first aider Elin Nicolaisen (51) and boat driver Patrick Kragh (26), the navigator forms this weekend's crew on the Red Cross boat – based close to Jotun's head office in Sandefjord, Norway.
– We eat and sleep in our little cabin, and practice, do maintenance and respond to emergency calls, Patrick explains.
The Red Cross boat is operated on a voluntary basis and financed with support from Jotun and other local companies. Four different teams of three take turn manning the boat, and most have regular work on a daily basis.
– In such beautiful weather, it's nice just to be at sea. And it feels good knowing we're doing something useful for others, Elin says.
The emergency calls often have to do with engine stops or people needing medical assistance. The boat and its crew also assist in search operations.
The number of calls varies greatly; sometimes the entire weekend goes by without a single call – other times the first emergency signal ticks in before the uniform shirt is properly put on.
– Yesterday it took 45 minutes. A family on their way out needed starting help. Shortly afterwards, a 41-foot sailboat was taking in water. We went out and assisted with towing and unloading, says Kjell Atle Kjønnø (52), leader of Sandefjord Red Cross.
The arrangement of weekend shifts lasts from Easter to November, while the boat is manned 24/7 in the summer. Kjønnø estimates about 40 assignments a year.
- We mainly operate in our local area, but assist on assignments elsewhere if necessary, he says.
This summer it's four years since the spectacular boat was launched. "RC Jotun" is a Flying Fish 40x aluminum boat, with two 435 horsepower Volvo Penta engines and a water jet system. Top speed is 38 knots, and navigation and steering systems are world class.
- "RC Jotun" has a unique combination of "Search and Rescue" and first aid. This means, among other things, being able to provide complete first aid indoors, Kjønnø explains.
The boat has towing capacity of over two tons, thermal camera, searchlight and diving platform - to name a few of the key qualities.
- The boat is excellently equipped, and our crews are very well trained. Nowadays, we see many new boat owners at sea, and we encourage everyone to learn good sea knowledge, Kjønnø concludes.
Read more about "RC Jotun" here