Originally Posted by Thamesvolunteer
Because we can chuck them in the back of a van and launch in remote locations.
Have to say, Rigiflex, funYak etc would be more robust I dread to imagine what sh1t is in the Thames. Some of the jetties etc aren't exactly well fendered.
Still not 100% what it is you want to use the boats for. I don't think I really understand what you do - I've read your website and still don't get it. Is it a rescue service (presumably not a designated facility by the CG) - when would you ever get involved in a rescue other than just being there? The Thames has the busiest RNLI station but also has paid crew so rapid response times. (worth noting they don't use inflatables on the Thames!)
Is it a security service? I'd feel more secure patrolling in a boat that an air riffle or knife can't sink!
So why the van? Is this a rapid response and deployment approach. In which case you need to think of time to:
- Drive through London Traffic.
Average speed of traffic in London <15MPH. Assuming you are driving 5miles. 20minutes. Assuming you don't have blue lights etc. [20min]
- Find some place to dump the van
Assuming you don't have rights to dump and run. Lets say 1 minute which is probably optomistic. [21min]
- Drag / carry the deflated (?) boat to the waterside,
3 minutes [24min]
- Carry engine,
Assuming you have it on a trolley and can just wheel it there - 1minute. [25min]
- Carry some means of inflation (compressed air bottles?), - 1 minute [26min]
Depends how you've got your inflation system but even if its fairly fast its probably 3 minutes. If its foot pump 15mins, 10mins on a Bravo.[29mins]
- Attach engine.
Probably 1 minute [30minutes]
So deployment takes probably at least 30minutes, and I think that relies on you having some seriously fast inflation. You'd want to rehearse that regularly to get the procedure sorted. You'd need to know exactly which launch points to use etc, and even then wont get to EXACTLY where you want to be.
Assuming you have no permission to exceed the speed limits in the Thames in 30 minutes you can cover 4NM. I'll give you 5 minutes to deploy from shore - wheel a boat down a slip and jump in basically... so 25 minutes at 8knots: 3.3NM - 3.8miles. The Thames byelaws allow the speed limit to be exceeded for both security and S&R operations. So if we assumed you increased to 12knots (not exactly gunning it) you'd cover 5NM in 25 minutes, which is nearly 6 miles so you'd be on scene quicker..
A 'proper' boat would let you have better radio kit (25W VHF with bigger aerial), possibly a Radar presence, lights both nav and search. All of that just becomes more hassle if the boat is deflated.
If you really need to get the boat someplace else tow it and launch from a slipway.