IMRF CEO Bruce Reid writes:

Excitement is building, bags are being packed and phrase books pored over as more than 50 volunteers from organisations in nine countries prepare for the 2014 European Lifeboat Crew Exchange, running from 28 September to 4 October.

This year's exchange will also include two volunteers from the Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue and a representative from the French Société Nationale de Sauvetage en Mer (SNSM).

Preparation is well advanced with the final details worked through by the Exchange coordinators at a meeting hosted by ICESAR in Reykjavik in June. As this is the third year of the exchange the meeting focussed on how to improve the experience for those attending and simplify the work required for the host countries.

Have a look at the Crew Exchange website and we would encourage you to keep an eye on the social media links where the experiences of those involved are being shared with the wider SAR community.

Big thanks go to Linde Jelsma of KNRM for the fantastic job she continues to do in project managing the Crew Exchange, and to the team of coordinators from the participating organisations.

All the hard work is worth it when you read the evaluations of the programme and comments from the volunteers involved:

"What an amazing and fulfilling experience!"

"I will remember this for the rest of my life and hope the 'exchange' will continue for ever!"

"Lots of new friends and valuable experiences. Thank you for a great week!"

The Exchange has received support through the EU Lifelong Learning Programme funding for 2013-2014.

We are currently looking at securing funding for 2015-2016 with the possibility of expanding the Exchange Programme either by increasing the number of organisations participating and reducing the number of volunteers per organisation or establishing another exchange involving different EU countries.

If your organisation is in the EU and interested in participating in 2015 please make contact: [email protected].