Selsey volunteer Max Gilligan hangs up his wellies after 38 years service

Lifeboats News Release

Congratulations to Max Gilligan who has hung up his yellow wellies after 38 years’ service as a crew member with Selsey RNLI.

Photo of Max on the lifeboat waving goodbye.

Max Wiseman MW Photography/RNLI

Max waves farewell after 38 years on the lifeboat crew.

Max was first involved with the Selsey lifeboat as a young 10-year-old boy, when the 46ft Watson class lifeboat Canadian Pacific was on station.

He was often found racing down to the station to watch and help out when the maroons were fired, helping to open up the boathouse doors, helping with the recovery of the anchors used for rehousing and maintaining the brass fixtures and fittings on the boat, as he says 'it was his thing'.

Max would accompany the boat crew out on the Canadian Pacific to the then manned Owers Light vessel, at Christmas to deliver their Christmas Turkey.

He joined the crew in 1983, aged 27, and quickly became a valued member of the team.

Max has been involved in numerous rescues over the years, including some of the most notable, such as the 36-foot yacht Shropshire Lady, which was 28 miles south of Selsey, a rough and taxing shout resulting in a tow of nearly 10 hours.

The May 27 2007 call to the yacht Pakaa, which was 19 miles south-west of Selsey in rough seas, 9-10 SW winds and torrential rain, resulted in the lifeboat being out for 12 hours.

The October 4 2008 service to Rhiannon a 12 metre converted pilot cutter, that had suffered a fouled rudder and was taking on water, 15 miles south of Selsey in F9-10 south-westerly and very rough seas, led to a 28-mile tow to Shoreham Harbour.

Max is and was always a steadfast, reliable crew mate, who was always at the forefront of the crew, and one of the first to volunteer or be chosen for all tasks, and for that reason he will be missed by the rest of the crew.

In his years on the crew he has built up an impressive collection and history of the station including an uninterrupted record of all shouts and services since he joined in 1983.

Max was instrumental in ensuring the volunteer crew had a means of recording what they did by making sure that a camera was placed on the boat for recording purposes. Since the advent of digital camera and the trusty helmet camera, he has become even more vocal in ensuring that the crew take the cameras to show what we do as an organisation

Max has always been the unofficial station photographer and there are not many times when you have seen him without a camera handy. Over the years he has built up a great working relationship with both local and national media outlets, helping to raise the profile of the RNLI and Selsey lifeboat in particular.

He has also forged good ties with other emergency service organisations such as the SAR flight at Lee-on-Solent, and military units that we have worked with.

In 2014 Max took on the lifeboat press officer role alongside his crew role, something he has excelled at, and we are happy to say will continue with.

He has received the Freedom of the City of London after 20 years’ service, and close association with the Guild of Freeman and has just been awarded ‘Excellence in Volunteering’ by the RNLI Executive for his assistance in the latest series of Saving Lives at Sea, shown on the BBC.

Tony Delahunty, Lifeboat Operations Manager at Selsey Lifeboat Station said:

'On behalf of myself, the crew and the RNLI, I would like to thank Max for his 38 years at sea, as part of the Selsey RNLI lifeboat crew. I would also like to acknowledge the level of commitment and dedication required to serve for this length of time.

His presence at sea will be missed. I am delighted that Max will continue as Press Officer, his reports and media work both locally and nationally have raised the profile of the station'.


Photos: The most recent photos were taken on Max's last exercise. As part of this the crew stopped at Bembridge RNLI Lifeboat Station as this was the first place that Max went on a lifeboat from Selsey when he joined the crew in 1983.

Media contacts:

Paul Dunt, RNLI Regional Media Officer for the South East, (07785) 296252

Max photographed at the helm of Selsey's Shannon class lifeboat.


Max at the helm of Selsey's Shannon class lifeboat.
Photo of Max on the lifeboat.

Max Wiseman MW Photography/RNLI

Max has been on the crew since 1983.
Photo of Max pictured during his time on the crew.


Max has been a key part of the Selsey crew.

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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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