The IRB, or inflatable rescue boat. It has well and truly become the most important tool surf life lifesavers utilise in protecting the public on our beaches. Gone are the days when lifeguards, dressed in woolly trunks, would rescue patients by dragging a line out from a winch planted on the sand. These days every patrol must have an IRB within their reach. IRBs provide a fast and efficient means of getting people out of sticky situations. In the 2013-14 season 1,027 people were rescued on New Zealand's beaches; the vast majority by the crews of our IRBs.
Not only are IRB's a crucial rescue tool. But they open up a whole other world of surf sport competition. It's definitely a sight to be seen when an IRB throttles full steam into the air off the face of a teetering green wave! Taranaki has a long history of over-achieving in the realm of the rubber duck. The IRB cohort at New Plymouth Old Boys has boomed over the past few seasons to become one of the fastest growing areas of our club. This has been helped by a few hard working, passionate and talented members, along with the introduction of numerous new competitions and challenges to be tackled in the boats. Our crew's travel the country competing in a range of competitions. In September 2015 the club will enter four crews of "pirates" to tackle the epic 90 Mile Beach Challenge. Not for the faint hearted or the weak stomached, the race runs a length of 88km where the crew of three have their surf negotiation skills, endurance and fitness put to the test. We also have a proud record of achieving well at both regional and national competitions in the fields of IRB assembly, single rescue and mass rescue.
Our club regularly sets out on training exercises to foster the skills of younger members. To launch yourself into the world of IRBs, the first step is to join the club! Sign up and get on board a bronze course to become a surf lifesaver. From there you can railroad up the pecking order from IRB crewman, to IRB driver right up to IRB examiner.
If your interested in getting an IRB qualification or would like to get involved in the racing side of the boats, an easy way is to get in touch with Trent Cutts who is the IRB Officer at NPOB or to contact any of the other executive members listed on the site.
Get into it!