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Swanage Lifeboat Station welcomes a new Lifeboat Operations Manager, Rob Pullman

Lifeboats News Release

In August 2020, Captain Neil Hardy retired from his role at Swanage Lifeboat Station, a position he has held for over 30 years.

Lifeboat Operations Manager, Rob Pullman

RNLI/Roydon Woodford

Lifeboat Operations Manager, Rob Pullman

Neil’s involvement with the RNLI started back in 1987 as a member of the Swanage RNLI branch committee. In 1990 he took on a temporary position as the Lifeboat Operations Manager and this role later became permanent.

Not only did Neil see crew come and go over the years, he also oversaw the arrival of new lifeboats, a brand new lifeboat station and the saving of over 200 lives at sea.

The voluntary role of Lifeboat Operations Manager carries a large amount of responsibility, overseeing all the operational aspects of the station. Over the years Neil has watched the volunteers launch to many challenging rescues including the rescue to the yacht ‘Be Happy’, which saw Coxswain at the time, Chris Haw, honoured with a Bronze medal for bravery and the crew on that night received commendations.

Neil said ‘one of my proudest moments with the RNLI was receiving the MBE from the Queen at Windsor Castle, but it’s really for all the volunteer members of the crew. It’s a very large commitment from a small number of people in Swanage, who have their own businesses and livings to make. I’m extremely grateful that lots of people in the community give a lot to the RNLI so that we can go out and save life at sea.’

Rob Pullman, who lives in Swanage, is taking on the role and has been working with Neil over the last couple of months to find out more about what the role involves.

Rob has spent time on the water in and around Swanage, kayaking, yacht sailing and he used to have a RIB that he launched from Swanage. Through his time at sea he has built a good knowledge of our local coastline that will be useful, as part of Rob’s role will be as a Launch Authority, which involves taking the initial call from HM Coastguard and requesting the launch of one, or both, of the Swanage lifeboats.

Rob served in the Army for over 33 years, retiring as a Colonel. His time in the Army included nine years as an Army Diver and Supervisor, and time managing a team of 200 volunteer soldiers through training and operational deployment, an experience that will come in very useful for his new role.

As part of Rob’s introduction to the role at Swanage, he was handed a pager so that he could attend the station for callouts to get an insight to the operational side of the RNLI in Swanage. Rob has joined at the station’s busiest time of the year, with the summer of 2020 seeing the volunteer lifeboat crew attend a variety of different callouts, including an exceptional number of serious medical incidents.

Rob said ‘I have always wanted to give something back to the community. Taking on the role seemed like an ideal fit, giving me the opportunity to apply some of my skills to a new area. I’ve really enjoyed my involvement so far and look forward to working with all the other volunteers at Swanage.’

The Swanage lifeboats have already launched to 51 shouts this year, with July and August being particularly busy. The station still remains closed to the public due to Covid 19, and the volunteer lifeboat crew continue to only have access to the station for callouts, or scheduled training exercises.

Notes to Editors

  • Photograph of the Swanage Lifeboat volunteers. Credit Roydon Woodford

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For more information please telephone Becky Mack, Swanage RNLI Volunteer Press Officer on 07812 558487 or at [email protected]

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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 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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