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13 September 2002

Merchant Navy Day 8th September 2002
Article by Stacy Ellen McGahan and photographs by Patrick Trollope. 
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People from Waterloo, Crosby, Blundelsands and surrounding area where heading to the beach in little Crosby despite the overcast weather on Sunday 8th September 2002. To a fun day celebrating the Mercent Navy at the new Coastguard Station on Crosby. The Lifeboats Crews from the RNLI where there, to help educate people young and old about water safety. Also on hand were the centers staff who were on hand to teach people about the rescue vehicles and boats. The HM Coastguard also had on of their boats on hand to allow children to have their picture taken in.

The RNLI (Royal National Lifeboat Institute) were informing people of what can happen if people do not use the sea safely. One representative of the RNLI told us "113 people a year die a year through accidents at sea and we hope to prevent this by educating people about the dangers and how to have fun and stay safe." 

The Crosby police and fire brigade where their, to show their role in water safety and rescue. The Police's new 'eye in the sky' (helicopter) dropped in to show what it as to offer. In an emergency at sea the Police chopper can be used to scan the last known location of the "persons" in distress and help to locate their real were about quick. This increasing the speed that the Lifeboats reach that "person" and seconds count when trying to save lives. Through out the day the Lifeboats from Crosby, New Brighton and Southport did demonstrations as fishermen fished of the prom. 

The Society of Mariner's charity was there to raise money for good causes. They where running a competition to win a Ferry trip to Ireland and back for a pound in the bucket. They where also selling teddy bears, pens and other bits and bobs. The National Blood Service where there to raise awareness and get a few new blood donors. One representative told us "The National Blood Service is an integral part of the NHS. They guarantee to deliver blood, blood components, blood products and tissues from their 15 blood centers to everywhere in England and North Wales. The National Blood Service also ensures that the blood they supply is properly screened and is safe for patients. Every year they collect, test, process, store and issue 2.5 million blood donations. But they depend entirely on voluntary donations from the general public, and try to encourage existing donors to give three times a year. Some times this blood has to be used for accident victims who have been at sea."

The day was fun, but most importantly educational. Water safety is a serious issue especially in the beach towns. So when your out playing on the beach, have fun but remember it is a unpredictably place. Read the signs and know where you are and where the people your with are. So as the men on the big orange boat say "Be Smart Be Safe".

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