19-year-old Shoreham RNLI crew member nominated for international award

Lifeboats News Release

Isobel Tugwell, a crew member of the RNLI Shoreham lifeboat, has been nominated for the prestigious Women in Search and Rescue (SAR) award, as part of the International Maritime Organisation’s ‘Empowering Women in Maritime’ campaign.



Isobel is a third-generation crew member at the station - her grandad was on the lifeboat crew at Shoreham for 41 years and her dad is second coxswain and second mechanic and has been on the crew for 36 years. Isobel joined RNLI Shoreham on her 17th birthday having just started studying for her A-Levels.

She is on the crew for both the D-class inshore and Tamar-class all-weather lifeboats, responding to a variety of calls from broken down boats to people in trouble in the water. As well as serving on the crew, Isobel recently began work as a Police Community Support Officer (PCSO) with Sussex Police.

Last year, one of Isobel’s rescues caught the attention of Saving Lives at Sea - the BBC documentary series focusing on the work of RNLI volunteers. Her involvement in the programme led to an invitation to Trinity House in London in March for a donor evening. Along with the RNLI chairman and two other lifeboat crew members from Poole and Tower lifeboat stations, Isobel answered questions about belonging to the organisation and shared stories of rescues and training. While on stage, her bravery caught the attention of Inmarsat, a sponsor of the International Maritime Organisation’s event and was nominated for the award on that basis.

The event, which is in its fourth year, recognises the work and achievements of SAR professionals internationally and takes place as part of London International Shipping Week 2019 with awards presented by Vice Admiral Sir Laurence KCVO CB ADC(P) on 10 September.

Isobel said: ‘I’ve wanted to join the crew for as long as I could remember, first being taken on the lifeboat when I was six months old. I am thrilled to be nominated, but honestly I am just happy to have the opportunity to save lives at sea and make a difference in my community.’

For more information on the awards and nomination process, visit https://www.international-maritime-rescue.org/news/the-imrf-awards-2019-shortlist-is-announced

Media contacts

For more information, or for interview requests, contact Julie Rainey, Regional Media Manager for London and the south east, on 07827 358 256 / [email protected] , Paul Dunt, Regional Media Officer on 07785 296 252 or [email protected] or the RNLI Press Office on 01202 336789 / [email protected]

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 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.

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