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Gravesend RNLI volunteer takes part in the European Crew Exchange Program

Lifeboats News Release

An RNLI volunteer from Gravesend is joining colleagues from other parts of the UK and Ireland to take part in a week-long lifeboat crew exchange programme organised by the International Maritime Rescue Federation (IMRF).

Wayne pictured with the crew from in Oslo, Norway.

RNLI/Alan Carr

Wayne in Blue (Centre)

Wayne Sherwood, a volunteer at Gravesend RNLI, travelled to Oslo, Norway to be with the Norwegian equivalent of the RNLI called Redningsselskapet1 on Saturday 23 September 2017.

The programme takes volunteers from a variety of European maritime rescue services and gives them the opportunity to visit other countries to experience and learn from their Search and Rescue (SAR) practices. The programme has been running since 2012, has completed five successful exchanges to date and is funded by the IMRF.

Wayne said: ‘I was really happy and excited when I learned my application had been accepted. It is an honour to be representing the RNLI on the European Lifeboat Crew Exchange. It’s a wonderful once in a lifetime opportunity for me, to both learn from other crews and pass on search and rescue techniques from my RNLI training and from experiences on station at Gravesend.’

The outcomes of the programmes to date have included increased experience of lifeboat crew members along with improved professional knowledge, working in a transnational team, and continuous sharing of knowledge and increased mutual understanding of the challenges faced in maritime search and rescue.

The main goal of this exchange is to share knowledge and to learn from each other. Through the Exchange our volunteers will be exposed to different ideas, training methods, cultures and experiences. This will help challenge some thinking, help to develop areas of consistency between lifeboat services and ultimately improve the overall maritime SAR response of all the organisations involved.


Notes to editors

Gravesend is one of four lifeboat stations on the River Thames that are operated by the RNLI. Gravesend Lifeboat covers an area from Holehaven, at the western end of Canvey Island, to the Thames Flood Barrier at Woolwich, a distance of 26 miles. A patch which covers Kent, Essex, South & East London.


RNLI media contacts

  • Alan Carr, Gravesend RNLI Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer
    07775 822584,

  • Paul Dunt, RNLI Press Officer (London/East/South East)

0207 6207416 / 07786 668825,

  • Tim Ash, RNLI Public Relations Manager (London/East/South East)

0207 6207426 / 07785 296252,

For enquiries outside normal business hours, contact the RNLI duty press officer on 01202 336789

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, Carrybridge 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