RNLI and family tradition inspires Fleetwood volunteer to travel the world
The family of Fleetwood born Jonathan Davies had a long affiliation with the sea.
Indeed, his Great Grandfather was Skipper on the trawler named Cevic, which is now seen on every packet of Fleetwood’s world famous ‘Fisherman’s Friend’ lozenge. But even his Great Grandfather couldn’t have predicted that young Jonathan would end up as First Officer on Cunard’s newest cruise ship Queen Elizabeth.
As if travelling the globe on one of the world’s most prestigious cruise liners wasn’t enough, on his return to his home in Fleetwood, he turns on his RNLI pager and is ready to help save lives at sea.
But how did Jonathan get to this enviable position ?
Jonathan knew all about the Pandoro boats which frequented Fleetwood at the time and had ambitions to be a Captain of one of these ferries. He also knew that to be a Captain of a ship he’d have to attend Fleetwood Nautical College. In 2010, thanks to an offer from James Fisher & Sons, a marine specialist services company, he started as a student at this college. He qualified as Officer of the Watch, before further studies took him to Chief Mate certificate in 2016. This year he passed his Master Mariner certification.
Jonathan’s links with the Nautical College continue to this day as he is now a Lecturer in Maritime Studies.
But Jonathan’s first ship posting gave little evidence as to where he’d end up! When he joined the Clyde Fisher, a 127-metre tanker on the Manchester Ship Canal, its destination was Holland.
But in 2014, Jonathan joined Carnival UK, a cruise ship company and operator behind P&O and Cunard cruise ships. As Third Officer, he sailed on Azura and Oriana, before promotion to Second Officer took him onto the Oceana and Ventura.
In the midst of the pandemic, he joined Cunard’s Queen Elizabeth in 2020 and has been sailing in the rank of First Officer.
But how did Jonathan become interested in the RNLI?
He often watched the local lifeboat launching when on family visits to the beach, but in 2009 he and his family attended the local lifeboat station’s 150th Anniversary celebrations. The attraction to join was too strong to resist and at 17, he joined the RNLI volunteers in Fleetwood.
Jonathan is now a qualified Navigator on the all-weather Shannon class lifeboat, Kenneth James Pierpoint and ironically, whilst qualified to helm the 294-metre-long Queen Elizabeth, he is still in training to helm Fleetwood RNLI’s 5 metre long in-shore lifeboat, Harbet.
Jonathan said: ‘Being in the RNLI is about more than just saving lives at sea. The term Lifeboat Family is often used at stations to describe the relationship between crew members. The RNLI is not just a part of my life when the pager goes off, but a cornerstone to the life that I have built since joining the crew. Fundraising and social events are equally as important in forming a successful crew as the exercises and services that we undertake.
Jonathan remembers his first call-out, to a small boat with two people onboard which had broken down and was drifting out to sea. He also recalls Ernie, the horse stuck in mud at Knott End and Poppy the dog, which had been swept out two miles by the strong tide and current. Both had favourable outcomes.
But it wasn’t all animal rescues. He also remembers the family of four, cut off by the tide and by the time the in-shore lifeboat reached them, the children were being held out of the water by their parents. Definitely four lives saved that day!
Jonathan’s ambitions are still strong, not least with his fellow volunteers in the RNLI, where he hopes to one day, be Coxswain of the town’s lifeboat.
But does he have a preference for either lifeboat ?
‘Both lifeboats bring their own unique qualities to a rescue. An inshore lifeboat shout may involve searches in shallower water or parts of the river you wouldn’t otherwise see. The Shannon is capable of fighting through almost any sea conditions to save someone in distress. Being a crew member on both lifeboats provides a wide variety of challenges and you never know what they will be when the pager goes off’.
Jonathan’s achievements are testament to his hard work, commitment and dedication to his ambitions and serve as an inspiration to other young people, looking for a real challenge.
Notes to editors
· Fleetwood lifeboat station has been operating since 1859. To learn more about the lifeboat station go to: http://fleetwoodlifeboat.org.uk/
· Coxswain Tony Cowell is available for interview
· Jonathan Davies is available for interview until 8th May, 2021.
· Photos of Fleetwood’s lifeboats can be viewed at: http://fleetwoodlifeboat.org.uk/
RNLI media contacts
For more information please contact Ken Harcombe, Fleetwood RNLI Volunteer Press Officer, on 07970 197195 / firstname.lastname@example.org Danielle Rush, RNLI Regional Media Manager, West, on 07786 668829/ Danielle_Rush@rnli.org.uk. or Eleri Roberts, RNLI Regional Media Officer West, on 07771 941390/ Eleri_Roberts@rnli.org.uk
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 over 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and, in a normal year, 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.