Training and Assessment equals Success at Rye Harbour RNLI

Lifeboats News Release

When one thinks of lifeboat stations and their crews the first thought is of a boat: but before it can launch rigorous training needs to have taken place.

wo assessors in front of the station tractor


Matt Cridland and Dave Needham at work at Rye Harbour

A three-day intensive training exercise for the crew at Rye Harbour RNLI was meticulously planned by the deputy training co-ordinators Sharon Gozna, Matt Ellis and helm Tony Peters. Matt Cridland and Dave Needham were training and assessing and signing off where appropriate for the duration. Matt’s normal role is Regional Improvement Manager (covering all the stations between Poole and Southend-on-Sea, The Thames and the Channel Islands) but he teamed up with Dave (Trainer and Assessor for ten stations from Brighton to Burnham-on Crouch) with his assessor/trainer hat on.

To be able to go out on a boat as crew there are over thirty modules to be given the green light. It is a big commitment and a great deal of new knowledge to absorb. Having gained five new crew recruits in the last two months this training was perfectly timed for now they are ready to man the boat during a shout. This strengthens the team at Rye Harbour, especially as they are available during the week in daytime.

The dedication and commitment to the tasks they were accomplishing was palpable. There was a constant buzz of activity in the crew room and the team on all three levels - new recruits, those due for pass-out as competent crew and designate helms - were able to tick boxes throughout the day.

This exercise works helps fulfil the ‘Spring 2019 Aims’ of the station – to get two helms passed out, three existing trainees complete for crewing the boat and ensure that the five new recruits are competent for service.

Dave and Matt devised crew-led bespoke training to address known gaps and progress their training in the most effectual way.

To enable the boat to go out so many times during training the shore-based crew was on-hand throughout the three days, giving up a great deal of their time they would usually spend with their families. John Rogers, shore crew, manned his privately-owned boat so that the towing module was accomplished. It all goes to show how much of a team effort is essential to launch the boat.

The RNLI’s work is based on and driven by their core values: Selflessness- the willingness to put the requirements of others before our own, and the needs of the team before the individual. Dependability – being available at all times. Trustworthiness – being accountable at all times. And Courage – being prepared to achieve the aims of the RNLI in changing and challenging environments. The crews are determined in their mission to save more lives at sea. The intense training was based on these values and the teamwork in evidence reinforced this.

Matt summed up the three days. ‘A great turn out from this station. The crew was motivated and committed to their training and the training of others where they could assist. Our time as trainers and assessors was used well as one module of training dovetailed into another. In some cases we were working with groups of five at a time and this gave us more time to spend on individuals where needed. It was a really valuable use of our time and it was great to see such dedication.’

Stuart Clark, one of the new recruits, said that he felt that the training had allowed him to progress quickly and cover multiple modules in a short time. There were many opportunities to go out on the boat and put classroom theory into practice.

In all there were forty-five modules signed off and a great deal of training was accomplished. The work was of a high standard and the crew all worked together well. Dave said that it was a pleasure being with crew who wanted to be there and to progress quickly.

Tony Edwards, LOM (Lifeboat Operation Manager) was pleased with the way the three days had gone, saying, ‘It was great to see the team coming together and moving forward with their individual training, thus strengthening the station. It is important to remember that these men and women are volunteers and give so freely of their time to keep people safe and save lives at sea. The commitment and dedication they showed by changing work-shifts and missing family time was commendable.’

RNLI Media contacts

• Kt Bruce, Rye Harbour RNLI volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer (07789) 818878

Paul Dunt, Regional Media Officer (South East), 0207 6207426, 07785 296252

• 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 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

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 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.

two new trainee crew working on charts for navigation


classroom practice using charts for navigation
Atlantic 85 preparing to go out to sea to train


Casting off and rope handling techniques
Atlantic 85 with rib alongside practising towing

RNLI/Stuart Clark

towing practice at sea
classroom with trainee crew and trainers and assessors


theory in the classroom before setting out to sea
Luke a member of the team using cards to revise


time spent revising in preparation for being signed off

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.