On duty 24/7 including Christmas Day
There is no off-duty for our ‘newbie’ recruits over the festive season. Whether they are unwrapping presents or peeling the sprouts their pagers are ready to hand in case of a ‘shout’.
Since last December we have recruited fourteen new shore and boat crew and this will be their first taste of Christmas on alert. Many a Christmas lunch or snoozing in front of the television on Christmas afternoon in the past has been interrupted by the pagers going off, signalling that the boat is to be launched. Whilst our crew, both old and new, willingly rush to the station and launch the boat in order to save lives at sea, it is important to remind ourselves that these gallant people are all volunteers who train hard throughout the year and are willing to be on call each and every day.
Our newbie volunteers come from a wide variety of backgrounds including a freelance artist and animator, students, hospitality consultant and a technical yacht surveyor.
Luke Bishop, a new recruit to the team at Rye Harbour summed it up like this: ’As I celebrate Christmas with my family, I will always know at the back of my mind that our pagers could go off at any time. Someone may need our help to get safely back home to the family for Christmas. It is a good feeling knowing that we might play a vital part in keeping somebody safe.’
Paul Lancashire, also a new recruit, said,’ Being on call over the Christmas festive season means being prepared to make the extra sacrifice at this time. We hope that everyone on the water will be safe but we are ready and waiting if we are called out. Having joined the crew recently I am amazed at the dedication, professionalism and commitment of the crew and hope to follow in their footsteps. Everyone has made me so welcome and shared their knowledge willingly.’
‘We are lucky at RNLI Rye Harbour,’ commented Paul Bolton LOM (Lifeboat Operations Manager), ‘to have had so many new recruits in the last twelve months forming such a strong dedicated team. They have worked hard on their training and come together as a strong unit. I am proud of them all, the shore and boat crew, and thank them all for their commitment.’
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, in a normal year, 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.