Humber lifeboats have been manned by dedicated full-time crews for more than 200 years. Now, in a break with tradition, the RNLI is hoping to recruit a number of volunteers who will supplement the crew by spending a couple of days a month at Spurn Point
The station’s remote location at the end of Spurn Point means Humber RNLI lifeboats have always been manned by a full-time lifeboat crew. This makes it unique as the majority of the charity’s lifeboat stations around the UK and Ireland rely on volunteer crew who live very close to the station, carry pagers and are called away from their home or work life to take part in a rescue.
However, for the first time in the station’s 205 year history, the RNLI is running a recruitment campaign and will be training some extra volunteer lifeboat men and women to supplement and support the current full-time crew.
Ben Mitchell, Humber RNLI Second Coxswain, explained: ‘We know there are lots of people who would love to join a lifeboat crew but, because of where they live or their personal or work commitments, they are unable to volunteer in the traditional way. However, they may now be able to join the Humber crew as we are looking for volunteers who are able to come to the station for just a couple of consecutive days a month, so they don’t need to live on the coast.
‘In return for their commitment, while volunteering at the station they’ll have a place to stay, first class RNLI training, development opportunities and all the kit needed to keep them safe at sea. They’ll train to become a fully qualified member of the crew and don’t need a maritime background. In fact, the majority of RNLI lifeboat volunteers these days do not have this type of experience but come from all walks of life.’
Anyone who volunteers will receive the same training as a crew member at any other RNLI lifeboat station, including seamanship; search and rescue; navigation and casualty care.
Sam Parkhouse, who lives more than 90 miles from Spurn Point in York has been volunteering at the station for over a year as part of a trial project to examine whether the station should recruit more volunteer crew. He spends one weekend a month at the lifeboat station, fitting it in around his work for the Environment Agency.
Sam said: ‘It’s a great opportunity to develop some valuable skills, work as part of a life-saving team and spend time at an amazing place. I’ve been made to feel very welcome by the crew and as well as taking part in training at the station I have been down to the RNLI College in Poole to take part in additional training courses.
‘Volunteering on a lifeboat crew brings amazing opportunities and I can’t think of a more unique place to learn about saving lives at sea.’
Before volunteering at Humber, Sam had previously been on RNLI crews on the Thames and at Aberystwyth but stressed that it is not necessary to have any previous experience.
Volunteers must be aged 17 or over; live within 99 miles of Humber Lifeboat Station; able to commit to at least two consecutive days a month and pass a medical and eyesight test.
Humber RNLI volunteer Sam Parkhouse. Credit RNLI Glenn Peterson.
RNLI media contacts
For more information contact Humber Lifeboat Station 01964650228.
For more information on the RNLI please visit www.rnli.org.uk. News releases and other media resources, including RSS feeds, downloadable photos and video, are available at the RNLI Press Centre www.rnli.org.uk/press
Key facts about the RNLI
The RNLI charity saves lives at sea. Its volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service around the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland coasts. The RNLI operates 237 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and provides a seasonal lifeguard service on 200 beaches around the UK. The RNLI is independent of Coastguard and government and depends on voluntary donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824 its lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved over 140,000 lives.
Charity number CHY 2678 in the Republic of Ireland and registered in England and Wales (209603) and Scotland (SC037736)
Key facts about the RNLI
The Royal National Lifeboat Institution is the charity that saves lives at sea. Our volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service in the United Kingdom and Ireland from 238 lifeboat stations, including four along the River Thames and inland lifeboat stations at Loch Ness, Lough Derg, Enniskillen and Lough Ree. Additionally the RNLI has more than 1,000 lifeguards on over 240 beaches around the UK and operates a specialist flood rescue team, which can respond anywhere across the UK and Ireland when inland flooding puts lives at risk.
The RNLI relies on public donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. As a charity it is separate from, but works alongside, government-controlled and funded coastguard services. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824 our lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved at least 140,000 lives. Volunteers make up 95% of the charity, including 4,600 volunteer lifeboat crew members and 3,000 volunteer shore crew. Additionally, tens of thousands of other dedicated volunteers raise funds and awareness, give safety advice, and help in our museums, shops and offices.
Learn more about the RNLI
For more information please visit the RNLI website or Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. News releases, videos and photos are available on the News Centre.
Contacting the RNLI - public enquiries
Members of the public may contact the RNLI on 0300 300 9990 or by email.
The RNLI is a charity registered in England and Wales (209603) and Scotland (SC037736). Charity number 20003326 in the Republic of Ireland