Withernsea lifeboat crew visit neighbouring station Humber lifeboat

Lifeboats News Release

On Sunday 26 May, Withernsea's trainee crew, Deputy Launch Authority (DLA) and Lifeboat Press Officer (LPO) visited their flanking station, Humber lifeboat. The RNLI volunteers spent a whole day at the station with the full time crew who work shifts, they also have volunteers working alongside them.


Withernsea visit, LPO, DLA

The purpose of the crew visiting the flank station (Humber) was to familiarise the team with the way the station runs, develop on the good working relationship and gain experience for the trainee crew.

On arrival bright and early at the pick up point, which was the Discovery Centre, the crew were greeted by Sean Cheston (Crew/Navigator) from Humber. They travelled with him in the Station Land Rover across the uneven beach where the road has been washed away over the years.

When reaching the station, the crew were welcomed by the station’s Coxswain and 2ndCoxswain Joe Pieniak and Colin Fisk, full time crew on their second day of shift. After a brief introduction to the rest of the crew, the volunteers were given a tour of the station including, the old houses where families used to live on site with the crew, which are now used for the full time crews living accommodation, as well as various other things such as; training rooms and memorabilia on display, as well as a gym and the crew changing room, which houses all of the station's dry suits life jackets and helmets.

After the tour of the station it was time for Withernsea volunteer crew to get changed into the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). LPO Rachel Gowen, was particularly excited as this was her first time wearing PPE and going aboard a lifeboat, she commented: 'The protective clothing and life jackets are heavier than I expected, but essential protection for the crew when wearing it for hours at sea. I am looking forward to experiencing first hand what the crew do when they go out on the lifeboats.'

Both station's crew members walked down the jetty together to launch the boarding boat Atlantic, taking the crew across to the anchored Severn class lifeboat.

Joe Pieniak (Coxswain) has been full time with Humber lifeboat for the last 5 years and has recently been promoted to his current role in January this year. He is in command of the Severn class lifeboat when at sea, ensuring the safety of all of the crew on board. Alongside him was Colin Fisk (2ndCoxswain), Rense Bell (Assistant Mechanic), Glenn Peterson (Crew/Navigator) and volunteer Gordon Young.

When afloat on the Severn class the Withernsea RNLI volunteers got to engage in steering the boat whilst looking out for lateral markers and using the navigation system.

Trainee crew Shaun Harrison and Aidan Gorman were in their element on the Severn, Shaun saying: 'Im having a great day, this is a fantastic experience driving the boat.'

The DLA at Withernsea John Hartland has 30 years experience with the RNLI and said: 'I still feel lucky and privileged to be able to participate in visiting neighbouring stations and today has been a very fulfilling day.'

After an hour out at sea on the Severn, they arrived back at the Jetty, the crews got changed and had lunch. Last task of the day for John (DLA) Rachel (LPO) Aidan (Crew) and Shaun (Crew) was to head up to the top of Spurn Lighthouse accompanied by volunteer Gordon young and crew member Sean Cheston. Aidan commented: 'What an absolutely brilliant day.'

At the end of the visit, Joe (Coxswain) summed up the day saying: 'It was great to meet volunteers from our flank station, it's really beneficial to put faces to names. I feel it's really important to have a good relationship with other stations whether it be visiting the station or being involved in joint exercises. This will all help us provide the best lifesaving service we can.'

RNLI Media contacts

For more information please contact Rachel Gowen, RNLI Volunteer Press Officer: rachel_gowen@rnli.org.uk

Rachel Gowen | RNLI Volunteer Press Officer

RNLI/Rachel Gowen

Severn Class

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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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