RNLI Deputy Launch Authority Celebrates 20 years of Saving Lives at Sea
Adam Forrest joined Portishead Lifeboat Trust in October 1998 with the intention of helping to save lives at sea and over the last 20 years has held many volunteering roles with huge responsibility. Like all the volunteers, he has done this for free to support our community.
He was part of the senior leadership team during the early days of the lifeboat rescue service, which operated off of Sugar Loaf Beach. Where, as a Trustee, he was asked to be responsible for the Health and Safety of the volunteers. This was the first time the Trust appointed someone specifically to look after the Health and Safety and although he had no experience in this area at the time, he studied for it and took exams in his own time.
During all his time studying, Adam was also training to become a Helmsman, the person in charge of the lifeboat and its crew whilst at sea. During his time as a volunteer crew member, he was called out on many rescues. One call which remains memorable to him was when a swimmer got into trouble off of Clevedon. The casualty had decided to swim to his hotel after a night out drinking. It is not a good idea to do this any time of year, but especially not at 11pm when it is wild and windy and you are only dressed in your underpants!
Adam was dropped ashore and after scrambling across treacherous rocks, he managed to get to the man, assess him and administer first aid if he needed it. He then wrapped him up in a blanket, loaned him his hat and waited for the rescue helicopter to arrive from RAF Chivenor. This rescue was featured on the BBC programme Real Rescues.
After Adam stood down from being a crew member he decided to take on another hugely responsible role as a Deputy Launch Authority. This person is pivotal for the launch of the Lifeboat. When the emergency call comes through from the Coastguards they take the call and make the decision to launch. They then page the crew and then brief the volunteers at the Lifeboat Station of the emergency situation before launch. A role he still currently holds today.
Adam is not only a volunteer for Portishead but now works for the RNLI as one of the staff who is a Regional QSHE Managers looking after Health, Safety and Environment in the Wales and West region.
Adam said ‘It is an honour to be recognised for 20 years of volunteering. I had no idea when I first joined that I would still be involved with Portishead Lifeboat for so long. I have seen some massive changes from the early days of PLT. Our first boathouse was not even big enough to house our launch tractor which had to be parked in a sailing club compound up a footpath! I have learned that despite all the changes we have been through, it is the people who support the lifeboat in whatever capacity, are the most important part.’
Dave Slack, Lifeboat Operations Manager, ‘When I joined the crew of the Portishead Lifeboat Trust, Adam was already established as an experienced crewman. He was one of the team that trainees like me, looked to for direction and reassurance. Adam was always happy to spend time to help others learn new skills and was a fine role model.
Myself and Adam both went on to serve as a Deputy Launching Authority and as a Trustee together for a number of years and Adam was a core part of the leadership team that oversaw the adoption of the Portishead Lifeboat Trust, by the RNLI.
Adam’s dedication to serving his community for over 20 years now, and his commitment to the RNLI are to be admired. He embodies what the RNLI stands for. I am very proud to have served alongside him in a number of roles and I am very pleased that he is still part of the team at RNLI Portishead. Long may it continue, because every station needs an Adam!’
And for those of you wondering, Adam didn’t get his hat back from the rescue, a shame, he was rather fond of it!
Notes to editors – All images ©RNLI Portishead
1. Adam Forrest receiving his award from Dave Slack LOM
2. Adam Forrest as Deputy Launch Authority
3. Adam Forrest last trip on the lifeboat
4. Adam Forrest on the rocks with casualty featured in BBC’s Real Rescues
5. Early days with Portishead Lifeboat Trust
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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.
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.