Jason Steers a Course to Lifeboat Success
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.
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 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.