Plymouth Lifeboat Coxswain stands down after 32 years service.
Coxswain David Milford stands down after 32 years service and hands over to Simon Jeffery as the new Coxswain/Mechanic of the Plymouth RNLI Lifeboat Station.
Dave Milford said: 'After 32 years service 20 of those as coxswain at Plymouth my retirement has finally caught up with me at the age of 69, I think it’s time I hung up my wellies. I joined in 1989 and thoroughly enjoyed my time and if I could do it all again I would. I have also had some wonderful times and experiences that will live with me for ever. I’m handing the reigns over now to Simon who will be doing the dual role as coxswain/mechanic and I would like to wish him all the very best in his new roll. I leave him with a fantastic capable and thoroughly professional crew who are all a credit to Plymouth lifeboat station enjoy and stay safe.'
On Friday 23 April Dave stepped aboard the all-weather lifeboat Sybil Mullen Glover for the last time as Plymouth lifeboat coxswain. The all weather lifeboat launched on a training exercise but shortly after slipping her birth Falmouth Coastguard re tasked the volunteer crew to locate, assess and assist a small sailing vessel with three persons on board, little did the people on the small vessel know in the wheel house of the 17m orange and blue lifeboat sat some of the most experienced lifeboat men and women within the RNLI. This would be Dave’s last tasking after three decades of saving lives at sea. As the volunteer crew returned to station some emotional words were exchanged as Dave handed the large bronze key over to Simon who stepped off the all weather lifeboat as full time Coxswain/Mechanic.
Coxswain/Mechanic Simon Jeffery said:
'Since starting as a volunteer in May 2018 as shore crew, working my way up to boat crew, then leaving my role as a Test Engineer within Princess Yachts after 14 years. I applied for the full time mechanic role in April 2019 and was successful, passed out as an ALB Mechanic in May 2019 and passed out as a Coxswain earlier this year.
I can’t thank the Coxswain Dave Milford and the crew enough for the support and training I have received. It’s been a lot of hard work and time spent learning new roles and responsibilities. I now wish to pursue my career within the RNLI here at Plymouth and carry on with the great work Dave has already done.
We have an amazing team here at Plymouth and working alongside our Ops team I’m confident we can carry on the stations great name, building more relationships with other agencies and charities. Thank you again for all your support.'
Some launches from Dave’s service that he will not forget.
23rd July 2003. The Royal Naming Ceremony of RNLB Sybil Mullen Glover at Plymouth Lifeboat Station by HM The Queen, accompanied by the Late HRH Duke of Edinburgh. a. http://www.bbc.co.uk/devon/news_features/2003/lifeboat_naming.shtml
21st May 2002, Dave in Command of RNLB City of Plymouth, tasked to the yacht Headstrong which had become disabled in south-south-easterly Force 9 Strong Gale, very rough seas and heavy rain. Skilfully manoeuvred the lifeboat alongside the stricken vessel close enough for a crew member to board, establish a successful tow and saving the 4 lives of the crew. Awarded Thanks of the Institution on Vellum for exceptional courage, determination and seamanship. a.
9th June 2002, Dave Milford in Command of RNLB City of Plymouth, tasked in south-westerly Force 9 Severe Gale and very rough seas to the stricken yacht March Hare. Coxswain David Milford manoeuvred the lifeboat alongside so that Second Coxswain Sean Marshall could board and secure a tow – which safely recovered the vessel and saved the life of the single crew. Both awarded Thanks of the Institution on Vellum. a. https://lifeboatmagazinearchive.rnli.org/volume/59/563/march-hare?searchterm=Yacht+Gan&page=317
2nd Coxswain Sean Marshall said 'Dave has been an intrinsic part of the station for over three decades, during his 20 years as Coxswain he has been an inspirational leader throughout. All of us at the station will sorely miss his first class seamanship, dedication and sense of humour. I am proud to have had the privilege of sailing with him.
We would also like to thank Dave’s family who over the 32 years waited for his safe return on every shout, attended open days, Christmas events, charity events and re heated missed dinners. Thank you.'
Dave’s last day at Plymouth was on Friday 23 April and everyone at the station wishes him a very happy and well deserved retirement.
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.