RNLI Helmsman Celebrates 20 years of Saving Lives at Sea

Lifeboats News Release

Like all of the RNLI crew volunteers, there is no doubt that when Dave Hodges takes command of My Lady Anne you are in safe hands.

Lifeboat Operations Manager Dave Slack, presents Dave Hodges with his 20yr award

RNLI/Helen Lazenby

Lifeboat Operations Manager Dave Slack, presents Dave Hodges with his 20yr award
Dave started volunteering in September 1998 when the lifeboat rescue service was the Portishead Lifeboat Trust. He now celebrates his 20thyear of volunteering as an RNLI Helmsman with Lifeboat Operations Manager Dave Slack presenting him with his award.

Back in 1996 when the Portishead Lifeboat Trust was founded, the Lifeboat volunteers were based at Sugar Loaf Beach. They leased a large container shaped building from the Sailing Club which housed the Lifeboat, launch rig, clothing and rescue equipment. In April 2015 after a few years of planning, building and training the RNLI adopted the Trust volunteers as they opened their brand new state of the art Lifeboat Station by the Pier, just on the edge of Portishead Marina.

In 1998 Dave decided to volunteer and get involved, whatever the weather, he turned up got stuck in to support the team, just one of the many qualities needed to join the volunteers. Within his first year he was qualified as a Helmsman which meant he took charge of the Lifeboat at sea and has been one of the key members ever since.

Dave as Helm, has rescued the youngest casualty to date in Portishead. Little Freddie, was just 6 weeks old when he was out on a trip in their boat with his parents and their friends. Disaster struck when they suffered engine failure in the River Avon in 2012. Freddie’s family were relieved when the Lifeboat crew arrived to help them back to the safety of Portishead Marina. Freddie and his family still visit the Crew when they are passing the Station and still remain massive supporters of the RNLI volunteers.

Senior Helm Ian Lazenby says ‘Dave is hugely respected by everyone at the Station, as well as having a great sense of fun, he has a great sense of duty and doing the right thing. During difficult and complicated shouts, he always remains calm and shows fantastic leadership which is a great quality during what can sometimes be, a stressful and challenging rescue.’

Dave said ‘I joined the crew as I wanted to give something back to my local community. I have always been interested in the sea and the coast and the Lifeboat seemed to be the ideal charity to volunteer for. During the 20 years of service I have been on some challenging incidents but know I can always rely on the highly trained and committed team at Portishead.’

His day job is also within the rescue service as he is a Group Manager for Avon Fire and Rescue Service. Working for the Fire Service for an amazing 26 years, Dave has a wealth of knowledge which he is able to share with the Lifeboat volunteers during their training sessions.

Not only will you find Dave on the water but also potentially arriving to help you in your hour of need on land!

Notes to editors – ALL images ©RNLIPortishead

1. Dave, RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager presents Dave Hodges with is award at a dinner for all the volunteers

2. Dave back in 2012 with little Freddie, just 6 weeks old

3. Dave Helmsman for RNLI Portishead

RNLI media contacts

For more information please telephone Helen Lazenby, RNLI volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer on 07800 595 995 or contact the RNLI Press Office on 01202 336789.

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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 142,200 lives.

RNLI/Helen Lazenby

Little Freddie in Dave's arms during the rescue in 2012

RNLI/Helen Lazenby

Helmsman Dave celebrating his 20yrs of saving lives at sea

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.

Learn more about the RNLI

For more information please visit the RNLI website or Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. News releases, videos and photos are available on the News Centre.

Contacting the RNLI - public enquiries

Members of the public may contact the RNLI on 0300 300 9990 (UK) or 1800 991802 (Ireland) or by email.