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Port Talbot RNLI volunteer makes history by becoming the station’s first female launch authority

Rachel Ann Thomas, an RNLI volunteer at Port Talbot for 21 years has been promoted to Deputy Launch Authority. 

Rachel Ann Thomas, RNLI volunteer at Port Talbot


Rachel Ann Thomas, RNLI volunteer at Port Talbot

This new role means she will be responsible to authorising the launch of Port Talbot’s RNLI when the request is has received from HM Coastguard. This is the first time in the station’s 51 year history, that a woman has been appointed into the role. 

Rachel has attended countless rescues since becoming a volunteer. In 2006, she was presented with a bravery award for the rescue of a male person off the mouth of the River Afan at Port Talbot. Her day job is as a Surgical Care Practitioner at Morriston Hospital , before this she worked as a theatre nurse. 

Rachel says:

‘I’ve been involved with Port Talbot RNLI for as long as I can remember and am proud to be part of such a great team. The role of DLA is quite a responsibly, but I feel I’m well prepared with the RNLI’s professional training to take on this role and authorise the launch of the lifeboat. Being the first female in the station’s history to take on this role is a privilege.’

All at Port Talbot RNLI wish Rachel all the very best in her new role.

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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For more information please visit the RNLI website or Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. News releases, videos and photos are available on the News Centre.

Contacting the RNLI - public enquiries

Members of the public may contact the RNLI on 0300 300 9990 (UK) or 1800 991802 (Ireland) or by email.