Jersey Recruitment FAQs

Lifeboats News Release

The following is a question and answer about the recruitment of volunteers for Jersey.


Do you need any previous seagoing experience to apply?

Only 1 in 10 volunteers join the RNLI with a professional maritime background. No previous seagoing experience is necessary. Volunteers will receive a full induction and any relevant training.

What roles are you recruiting for?

We are looking to recruit a number of volunteers for operational crew roles on the all-weather lifeboat and inshore lifeboat as well as variety of shore-based positions.

Are there any age limits to become a volunteer?

There is an upper age limit of 55 for the inshore lifeboat and 65 for the all-weather lifeboat.

How many crew are you recruiting?

We do not have a defined number of crew we are looking to recruit. We will ensure we have enough volunteers to have good resilience across the island and availability for both boats if called upon.

We need to ensure enough crew members are recruited so they can concentrate on maintaining skills; not everyone who applies will be successful.

If unsuccessful in applying for a volunteer crew member role, you would be very welcome to apply for any of the available shore-based roles.

Do you take women on the crew?

Yes. As a charity we are committed to ensuring equality of opportunity for everyone who wants to volunteer with us.

Do you need swimming qualifications to be lifeboat crew?

For lifeboat crew the ability to swim is not a prerequisite, as skills in sea survival are taught as part of the crew training. To be a volunteer lifeguard you will need a level of fitness and swimming ability which can be found here:

I have previously volunteered. I’d like to re-join now. What’s the situation?

Please get in touch if you are now in a position to volunteer. All applications will be treated on an individual basis and follow the same fair recruitment process.

To train new volunteers takes time, you lost a lot of experience with the previous crew going.Why do this?

We made the decision to close the St Helier lifeboat station for a short period as it was not feasible to run a station when the relationship with the RNLI and crew had broken down to the extent that it had. We are now working with the community to get both lifeboats back on full service and look towards a collaborative future for both St Catherine’s and St Helier lifeboat crews along with the RNLI lifeguards and our SAR partners.

We are committed to equipping our new volunteers with the skills they need through a comprehensive training package delivered both locally and using the RNLI College training facilities.

Training of new volunteers

What training have the new volunteers undertaken already?

Those that have come forward to volunteer bring extensive local knowledge and boat handling experience. Building upon that, the volunteers have already started further training locally on the inshore lifeboat and also at the RNLI College in Poole. They have undertaken training in areas such as boat familiarization and drills, Atlantic 85 capsize procedure and Sea Survival.

How much commitment does this involve to be a volunteer crew member?

Being part of a lifeboat crew is a big commitment. Every crew member follows a structured programme of competence-based training and assessment. This covers an agreed range of skills and competencies necessary to complete particular tasks. They also undertake operational training, designed to help them meet required fitness standards.

The RNLI is committed to getting both the inshore lifeboat and all-weather lifeboat in St Helier back on service as quickly as possible.

What experience do the new volunteers bring to the role? A lot of experience was lost.

Only 1 in 10 of our volunteers come from a maritime background. Any new volunteers will be trained to the RNLI’s high standards of competence. Those who have already volunteered bring a vast amount of maritime experience from many years operating around the Jersey coastline.


When will the inshore lifeboat be back on service?

The inshore is already up and running.

When will the all-weather lifeboat be back on service?

We are doing everything we can to restore an RNLI all-weather lifeboat service to the island as quickly as possible. Our current estimate is by the end of March 2018 but this will depend on crew members reaching their required standard of competence.

Will there be any staff support for the new RNLI crew in St Helier?

We are restructuring search and rescue operations in Jersey and are considering the best crewing options for the boats in St. Catherine’s and St. Helier. Our clear commitment is to providing the most effective lifesaving services to the island of Jersey: we have still to make a decision on exactly what that will look like. We will have full support in place for our Jersey volunteers as we do for all those in the organisation.

What happens if the independent crew set up successfully in St. Helier? Will work alongside an independent rescue service?

We have a long and successful history of working with independent lifeboat crews around the country. If the service is established successfully, we will examine the requirements of operating here and will work with our independent colleagues as we do elsewhere.

Why will the RNLI not accept their offer from the former St Helier Crew to crew the ALB in the interim period?

The RNLI is committed to restoring Jersey’s all-weather capabilities as soon as possible. Our focus is on doing all we can to create and maintain a sustainable lifesaving service for Jersey as a whole.

The former St Helier crew made the decision to go independent following specific challenges and behaviours that severely impacted the working relationships with the RNLI and crew. The RNLI relies on its crews and staff to save lives at sea whilst adhering to the values which underpin the organisations long history. This relationship is dependent not only on maritime expertise and high standards, but on adhering to collaborative and co-operative working practices.

We are now focusing our energy and resources on the future service and part of this is ensuring that new crew members are able to spend as many hours as possible on the George Sullivan so they are fully competent in operating it.

We have already had over 40 people show an interest in volunteering, started training with more than 15 members of St. Catherine’s and Jersey Fire & Rescue already and are holding a recruitment event this Friday and Saturday. A number of highly experienced local volunteers from both St Helier and St Catherine’s operations teams have joined up to form a collaborative team which will review all of the applications. Former crew are welcome to apply and will follow the same recruitment process as any new candidate.

How have these decisions been made by RNLI management?

One of the strengths of the RNLI is that at a management level, there is a wealth of seagoing experience, with many of our senior staff having given considerable years of service on lifeboat crews. Our organisation is committed to ensuring that jobs are done by people with appropriate skills, training and understanding, whether in volunteer or paid roles. No decisions about operational matters were taken without involving a number of staff who understand that side of the business and the demands of saving lives at sea in dangerous conditions.

Will the RNLI shop re-open?

We have spoken to our RNLI shop volunteers and agreed that the shop, which would usually close in mid-December for the winter season, will remain closed from now until Easter when it is scheduled to reopen for the summer season. In the meantime, the volunteers will focus on making the most of opportunities to organise RNLI shop stalls at local markets and events and will be at the Central Market in early December. The RNLI fundraising volunteers are still giving generously of their time and skills to raise money for the charity.

Why has the RNLI been so silent about recent comments made in the press and on social media by the former crew?

As an organisation, we have been very clear in the past weeks about the breakdown in the relationship between the RNLI and the crew and what that means. We respect the ex-crew’s decision to work independently and our focus now is on how the RNLI can move forward and provide the best lifesaving service for the island of Jersey. It would not be productive to comment on individual case involving a volunteer.

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 over 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and more than 240 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK and Channel Islands. 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 142,700 lives.

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 (UK) or 1800 991802 (Ireland) or or by email.