Jason Steers a Course to Lifeboat Success

Lifeboats News Release

News that Jason Hughes had become a qualified helm of Cowes RNLI lifeboat was greeted with a resounding cheer at the station’s crew night.

New helm congratulated by RNLI assessor.

RNLI/Mark Southwell

Jason (right) with Tom after arriving back at the Cowes station.

The final hurdle in his elevation from ordinary crew member to lifeboat commander was a thorough day and night-time examination on the Solent, lasting over two hours, aboard the station’s Atlantic 85, under the experienced eye of RNLI assessor Tom Pedersen.

Jason, who lives at Gurnard, has been with Cowes lifeboat for over four years. As well as being a commercial property developer, he also is something of a recreational sailor. He has an RYA Yachtmaster Offshore qualification, has raced across oceans, and owns a 36 foot motor-cruiser.

With Jason’s successful assessment, the Cowes lifeboat now has five volunteer helms on the books, hopefully ensuring that at least one of them will be able to respond to a pager alert. The RNLI stipulates no lifeboat should be launched without a qualified helm amongst the crew.

Jason said the response at the station to the news he had become a helm was met with a loud cheer and hand-shakes. “It was quite overwhelming.”

Station Operations Manager, Mark Southwell, said, “The more helms we have the more we are able to offer a 24 hour cover and still allow committed volunteers time for themselves and their families.”

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