A day in the life: a lifeboat volunteer at Rye Harbour
Our volunteer crew members are prepared to drop everything and risk their lives to save others at a moment's notice. This life-saving work is often difficult and sometimes dangerous but it is essential.
It is important to remind ourselves that these volunteer crew members are also in full-time employment, so it becomes quite a struggle to fit in all the training and time on the shouts into a weekly routine. Many birthday parties, hot Sunday lunches and trips out are interrupted as they rush to the lifeboat station. Only one in ten volunteers joining the RNLI comes from a professional maritime occupation, making training especially important.
Joseph Brown, designate Helm at RNLI Rye Harbour, has recently been promoted to Leading Seaman in the Royal Navy. He is based at Portsmouth on HMS Forth. He joined the Navy in October 2008 having had a taste of maritime life in the Sea Cadets at school in Rye. As Leading Seaman his job entails being a supervisor of sea survival equipment and overseeing the launch and recovery of sea boats. He also ensures that the training of the Able Seamen is fulfilled. He briefs the Commander on tactical communication: when a coded message comes in he decodes it and delivers a brief.
Fellow crew member Tim Dickenson has this to say of him: ‘Joe joined the crew just over ten years ago now. He fitted in straight away and showed great enthusiasm for training and keenness to learn, something that hasn’t faded over time. He’s a valued member of the team who always shows professionalism and has a lively sense of humour. His Navy background has given him a wealth of maritime knowledge and experience which is very beneficial for us at the station.’
Q. Why did you join the RNLI Joseph?
'My father, Steve Brown, is a senior launcher and I have grown up with the RNLI in my blood. When I was younger the RNLI had much more of a presence in the Harbour. Many more of the crew were fishermen and lived in the village. Now we have to recruit in Rye so that we can man the boat regularly.'
Q. What skills do you find are transferable from the Royal Navy to the RNLI and vice versa?
'Most importantly, seamanship skills and understanding how to use sea survival equipment safely and effectively. Teamwork, and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations. The core value of the Navy is respect for others and this is vital in the RNLI where as crew we all rely on each other for a safe outcome.'
Joseph's priorities are to continue with his RNLI training and pass out as Helm. He is a great asset to both the services of which he is a member.
RNLI Media contacts
• Kt Bruce, Rye Harbour RNLI volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer (07789) 818878 Kt@ktbrucephotography.com
• Paul Dunt, Regional Media Officer (South East), 0207 6207426, 07785 296252 email@example.com
• For enquiries outside normal business hours, contact the RNLI duty press officer on 01202 336789
RNLI online: For more information on the RNLI please visit http://www.rnli.org/. News releases and other media resources, including RSS feeds, downloadable photos and video, are available at the RNLI News Centre.
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 237 lifeboat stations, including four along the River Thames and inland lifeboat stations at Loch Ness, Lough Derg, Enniskillen and Lough Ree. Additionally the RNLI has more than 1,000 lifeguards on over 180 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.
Learn more about the RNLI
Contacting the RNLI - public enquiries
Members of the public may contact the RNLI on 0300 300 9990 or by email.
The RNLI is a charity registered in England and Wales (209603) and Scotland (SC037736). Charity number 20003326 in the Republic of Ireland.
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.