Operated by St John in the Bailiwick of Guernsey, the vessel is on call 24 hours a day, from a mooring in Guernsey’s St. Peter Port harbour.
Flying Christine III is the marine equivalent of an accident and emergency ambulance. The vessel carries additional rescue equipment which enables the crew to deal with accidents at sea or on ships, as well as responding to incidents on neighbouring islands.
Crewed by Paramedics and Emergency Medical Technicians, together with qualified local mariners, this enables life-saving and stabilising treatment to commence immediately a patient is on board and to be continued as the launch speeds towards land.
Operated by St John, the marine ambulance service relies on public donations and support to operate.
Although her role is primarily answering medical emergencies or accidents on board ships or neighbouring islands, Flying Christine III is also available to assist the local RNLI offshore lifeboat and Guernsey Coastguard in rescues or searches at sea.
The crew of Flying Christine III are made up of ‘expert volunteers’, Paramedics and Emergency Medical Technicians from the emergency ambulance service also provided in Guernsey by St John.
This means that casualties are treated on board by crew members who have the training and experience to diagnose and treat injuries or accidents to professional ambulance service standards.
Volunteers from the local boating fraternity make up a panel of ’expert’ volunteer coxswains and engineers to assist the service whenever necessary, and can be called from their homes or their jobs at any time to respond to emergency calls.
The St John marine ambulance is funded from public donations and supported by a marine ambulance membership scheme. Whilst St John receives an annual grant from the States of Guernsey to assist with the emergency road ambulance service, the marine ambulance, like the other rescue activities of St John, is funded by the generosity of the Bailiwick community.
Flying Christine III was built entirely from funds donated or bequeathed to St John. A part-charge is sometimes made for the marine ambulance, but this does not cover the full costs of maintaining or running the vessel, so St John depends on donations and public generosity to continue its work in this important activity.
The St John Marine Ambulance, Flying Christine III, is powered by twin Volvo turbo-charged diesel engines, giving a maximum speed of approximately 28 knots and is served by a small tender currently moored in Guernsey’s main port, St. Peter Port Harbour.
The GRP hull is the well-proven Nelson 45 hull, designed to cut through the waves rather than ride on the surface of the sea, and with the wheelhouse positioned well forward, and the engine room to the stern, the stretcher cabin is situated amidships where patients have a smooth ride in the area least affected by the motion of the sea.
The vessel has a stretcher cabin larger than those found in road ambulances, giving St John personnel plenty of room to examine and treat patients with the comprehensive array of medical equipment carried.
The stern deck has steps to water level to enable patients to be recovered from the water in a stretcher, and can be used for transfer to helicopter if necessary.
A full complement of marine equipment, together with charts is carried. Lifejackets and a self-inflating life raft is included in addition to a 9-foot inflatable dinghy which can be used for close inshore work from the marine ambulance.
The St John Marine Ambulance, Flying Christine III, was built in Guernsey to Lloyds Register of Shipping specifications for full LRBC by Seaward Marine.
Designed by Mr. A. Mursell, T.T. Boat Designs
Length: 45 feet
Water tank: 75 gallons
Beam: 13 feet
Fuel capacity: 450 gallons
Draft: 4.5 feet Max. speed 28 knots
Displacement: 20 tons
Range: 250 miles at 20 knots
2 x Volvo turbocharged diesels driving Vee drive transfer boxes.