Navy man qualifies as helm at RNLI Rye Harbour

Lifeboats News Release

Following his assessment on Wednesday 26 June at Rye Harbour Joseph Brown passed out as helm


James Brown new helm at RNLI Rye Harbour

Joseph has lived in Rye Harbour all his life and joined the Royal Navy in 2008. Earlier this year he was promoted to Leading Seaman, a role that comes with many responsibilities. His father, Steve Brown, senior launcher and recently-qualified tractor driver, has been involved with the RNLI for over thirty years and his mother has volunteered for over forty years so the RNLI is certainly in his DNA.

Fellow-helm Tim Dickinson has this to say of his colleague: ‘Joseph joined the crew just over ten years ago now. He fitted in from the beginning 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. Now we are lucky to have him as a qualified helm and know that he is calm in a crisis and a true team player. Congratulations, Joseph.’

It takes hundreds of hours of committed training and practice to reach the exacting standards needed to become a fully-qualified helm. It also requires a whole team of shore crew and sea-going crew behind you so that the boat can actually launch. All members of the RNLI Rye Harbour station gave one hundred per cent support to Joseph and are proud of his well-earned achievement.

At the end of a successful examination on land and sea by Carl Beardmore, RNLI Assessor and Trainer Manager (Marine) for England, Carl said, ‘On the evening of 26 July 2019 I attended Rye Harbour lifeboat station to carry out a command assessment for Joseph Brown (Trainee Atlantic 85 Helm). During the assessment Joseph was required to demonstrate his knowledge of the role of a Helm, complete a written test on IRPCS, (International Regulations for preventing Collisions at Sea) requiring a pass rate of a minimum of 90% and a scenario exercise afloat where his knowledge and skills in command and management were tested. I am delighted to say that Joseph achieved a very good level throughout and I was more than happy to say he has achieved the required level to be an Atlantic 85 helm at Rye Harbour lifeboat station. I was also extremely pleased to see his colleagues there to support him. Everyone worked as a team and I know Joseph will be a huge asset to this team, the station and the wider community.’

Joseph summed up the whole experience, 'The process of getting to the stage where I was ready to pass out has taken seven years of learning , training and gaining experience. Everyone at the station played a part in my journey and I thank them for all their loyal support.To pass out felt amazing and it was one of the hardest things I have had to do in the RNLI and in my normal job in the Royal Navy. It had been a goal of mine to become helm in the RNLI and I have succeeded. I could not be happier.'

Paul Bolton

Joseph Brown is congratulated by his father after passing out as helm


setting out on a shout as few days before his passing out


Joseph Brown proud to be in his Navy uniform

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 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 142,700 lives.

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