Handing over the helm at Abersoch RNLI after 40 years!

Lifeboats News Release

An interview with Gareth Hughes-Jones, former crew, Helm, Deputy Launching Authority and Lifeboat Operations Manager at Abersoch RNLI.

Gareth back in the day!

RNLI

Left to Right - Seriol Thomas, Tommy Hookes and Gareth Hughes Jones

After over 40 years of involvement with Abersoch RNLI, Mr Gareth Hughes-Jones passes on the role of lifeboat manager to Mr Andrew Vowell.

Here we ask him a few questions on his experiences and his time spent at the Helm!

How long have you been involved with Abersoch RNLI as a crew member, DLA and now a LOM?

I have had involvement with the Abersoch lifeboat for over 40 years, as crew, helm, DLA and recently as Lifeboat Operational Manager. My family in Abersoch "Hookes" have had extensive involvement with Abersoch Lifeboat going back to my great grandfather and my cousins Llew Bach and Tom Hookes. It seemed the right thing to do as it was in the family blood, also many of my friends were crew.

What was your most memorable shout?

I have many memorable shouts over the years which have included fatalities, which confirms the unpredictable nature of being lifeboat volunteers. I recall going out in the D class inshore lifeboat to a report of that a catamaran had been overwhelmed in Porth Neigwl. After an extensive search in heavy seas we found a father and his two daughters clinging on to their home made vessel! We were very lucky to find them.

What was your funniest shout?

Current lifeboat men have to undergo very strict training to help, especially when rescuing animals! During a recent rescue which involved a goat, the dedicated crew man in order to reassure the goat went down on all fours and made a bleating noise. It worked!!

Which type of lifeboat did you most like?

I worked on the D class, Atlantic 21 and Atlantic 75 lifeboats, the 75 was very sea worthy and manouverable especially when working close to rocks.

What do you believe makes a good lifeboatman?

To be a good lifeboatman you need to be able to work as part of a team that trust each other and are dedicated to the cause. A sense of humour also helps.

It is obvious to see the immense respect and loyalty the current crew show toward you, what advice would you give to Andy Vowell (new LOM) who has very big shoes to fill!

Andy has the experience and life skills to manage the station, he will rely on this when managing the crew and it gives me great pleasure in giving him my backing and support for the future.

All the crew, management, fundraising team and supporters of Abersoch RNLI Inshore lifeboat wish to thank him for all his dedication, devotion and impeccable professionalism toward the station over the years. They would all like to wish him the very best of luck in the future!

Media contacts:

For more information please contact Lee Oliver, Abersoch RNLI Lifeboat Press Officer, on 07919 071577 or Chris Cousens, RNLI Press Officer, Wales and West, on 07748 265496 or 01745 585162 or by email on chris_cousens@rnil.org.uk.


Gareth handing over the Helm to Andy!

Martin Turtle photography

Andrew Vowell and Gareth Hughes Jones

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.

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The RNLI is a charity registered in England and Wales (209603) and Scotland (SC037736). Charity number 20003326 in the Republic of Ireland