TWO Royal Navy boats which are helping nurture the next generation of recruits made a call to South Tyneside ahead of their next mission.
HMS Example and HMS Explorer docked in the waters near to the Customs House, South Shields, after calling to the borough to undergo refit work.
The 20-metre-long patrol boats are used to train university graduates who are looking to embark on a career in the Royal Navy.
They can also used to support larger vessels on operational duties.
Commanding Officer Tom Harrison – one of the Royal Navy’s youngest-ever captains at 26 – welcomed the Deputy Mayor of South Tyneside Coun Richard Porthouse on board to take a look around and find out more about the patrol boats.
Also visiting was the chairman of Hebburn Sea Cadets, George Bone.
Cpt Harrison said: “The students come on board to carry out a range of exercises including navigational training, the role of the engineering officers, seamanship issues, fire exercises and man overboard exercises.
“They have to be able to respond to emergencies that may happen out at sea and react to them quickly.
“By being on board these boats, it gives them the experience and also an insight into the Royal Navy.”
The patrol boats provide a training opportunity to about 50 students from Newcastle, Durham and Northumbria Universities who are taken out on sea weekends as part of their course.
“They also take part in two deployments a year, one lasting four weeks in Scotland and the other 10 weeks in the Baltic Islands to give students the chance to experience the support the crew gives to foreign activity.
The boats are part of patrol boats squadron which consists of 14 ships.
Coun Porthouse said: “It’s been a pleasure to have been invited on board the patrol boat to find out more about the training being provided by the Royal Navy.
“It would be great to be able to have some of our young sea cadets along to take a look.”
The refit work is taking place at UK Docks, South Shields.