This year’s prestigious ‘Pride of Britain Award’ sees the nomination of the Royal National Lifeboat Institute (RNLI), a charity dedicated to saving lives at sea. This nomination came following an intense, nail biting rescue by Hartlepool RNLI volunteers who rescued a trapped teenager from drowning only moments before he would be completely submerged in water.
Since the foundation of the RNLI in 1824, its lifeboats and volunteers have saved more than 139,000 lives; last year alone, 17,671 people in trouble at sea were assisted by RNLI stations around the British and Irish coasts. Every day volunteers at these lifeboat stations risk their lives in dangerous conditions in the aid of others. How do they do this? Well, polyurethanes helped them get there.
RNLI lifeboats are tough, fast and resilient, allowing them to come to the rescue after a call as quickly as possible because every minute counts. Polyurethane provides them strength and efficiency; the use of polyurethane coating gives the rescuers extra light-weight lifeboats with a protective layer strong enough to withstand weather conditions.
All volunteer crew wear essential life jackets at all times when on board any RNLI life boat, ensuring the safety of those who put their lives at risk for others. Where does polyurethane feature here? Polyurethane once again showcases its versatility as it’s found in both the ultra-strong polyurethane belt and foam interior. The foam interiors of life jackets are light-weight, high-resilient, buoyant and waterproof; these same properties make polyurethane ideal for life saving buoyancy aids, also used by the crew.
Volunteer lifeboat crews are not only kept safe but also warm as they battle the rough seas at night and often at sub-zero temperatures. Dry suits are specially designed for crews involved, offering thermal protection while immersed in water. Dry suits are made from advanced technology, called ‘polyurethane laminate’, which creates a waterproof barrier when it is properly applied to nylon, preventing water from entering the suit. Underneath this heavy duty nylon exterior, an inner polyurethane layer adds comfort and added insulation, as well as padding and protection.
Polyurethanes; helping your local heroes help you.