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Take a lifeboat ride - on dry land

PUBLISHED: 16:27 09 April 2008 | UPDATED: 08:55 13 July 2010

Landlubbers can take a trip in Cromer's new lifeboat next weekend - without even setting to sea.

A simulator showing visitors what it is like to ride in the new £2.

Landlubbers can take a trip in Cromer's new lifeboat next weekend - without even setting to sea.

A simulator showing visitors what it is like to ride in the new £2.6m Tamar class boat will be stationed on the seafront.

And it comes as a new book is launched to tell the station's 200 years of history in pictures.

The simulator was a new RNLI vehicle aimed at raising awareness of the work and training done by crews, said Cromer lifeboat operations manager Richard Leeds.

People boarded the “boat”, were given a mock lifejacket in the darkened wheelhouse and waited to launch.

After a mayday call is heard, there are sounds of the crew getting ready. Simulation can either be a six-minute film and narrative, or the boat can be steered using its joystick controls.

Mr Leeds said it was a rare chance to get a feel of what it was like to be on board the new boat. It had originally been hoped to bring the boat to the town during carnival time in August, but it clashed with it going to Cowes sailing week.

The simulator will be open from 10am to 4pm on April 12 and 13.

It coincides with a new book charting the station's history stretching back more than two centuries - taking the story of lifesaving from the earliest rowing lifeboat in 1804 to the hi-tech Tamar of today.

The book by Nicholas Leach and Paul Russell includes many previously unseen photographs. They capture the days of cork-vested crews who had to row miles through heavy seas to a stricken vessel before carrying out their rescue.

There are also huge gatherings of people lining the prom and cliffs to welcome new boats, watch displays on lifeboat days, and even observe real life dramas close to shore, including the medal-winning efforts of the legendary coxswain Henry Blogg.

The boats, and the crews who served on them, are recorded - charting the evolution of vessels, equipment and boathouses over the decades.

Cromer Lifeboats - A Pictorial History by Landmark Publishing is £16.99. A launch of the book is being held at the boathouse on Saturday at 10.30am.

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