Donate now

New lifeboat helm at Brighton RNLI

Lifeboats News Release

RNLI volunteer Ben Hylands has become the latest new helm on Brighton’s lifeboat.

RNLI/Lottie Ikonen

The crew for Ben's first callout in March. Left to right, John Webster, Radek Proutkovsky, Ben Hylands, Mark Steel

Ben has been assessed on the numerous different challenges of overseeing a B class inshore lifeboat over a 14-month period.

Ben, 40, has been a volunteer at Brighton for three years and two months. He becomes the fourth helm at the station.

He combines his volunteering with his work as a music agent, screen play writer and hypnotherapist/psychotherapist.

Ben said: 'I am enormously proud to be part of the volunteer crew at Brighton.

‘I am also really pleased and proud to have completed my helm training, and now look forward to joining the compliment of other helm crew members at Brighton Lifeboat Station.’

Following his success of passing his final assessment, Ben when responding to a call out will be responsible for taking command of the lifeboat and ensuring the volunteers remain safe whilst afloat.

The RNLI describes the duty of a helmsman, ‘to use utmost endeavours to safeguard and rescue the lives of those in danger, whilst having regard for the safety of their crew’.

The Brighton inshore lifeboat Random Harvest is regularly tasked to complete numerous rescues around our local shores. She is highly manoeuvrable and usually operates closer to shore than our all-weather lifeboats.

She comes into her own for searches and rescues in the surf, shallow water, and confined locations - often close to the Brighton Piers.

These are often challenging operations, which demand an extremely high level of competence and experience from the volunteer crews involved.

Throughout the period on station, Ben has been supported by the rest of the volunteer team as he has progressed.

He also attended the Lifeboat College at Poole for further practical training on a variety of subjects.

Ben added: ‘I joined the RNLI because I wanted to give back. I love that being part of the crew - it is all about teamwork and making a difference.

‘I wouldn’t have passed this training without the whole team in Brighton. Everyone got behind me during my training period and everyone played their part. This really is a group success.’

Ben has taken part in three training exercises as helm and had his first call out last month. The crew were called to two paddle boarders that were reported to be in trouble by Brighton Palace Pier.

Speaking of the incident, Ben said: ‘It was great to put all the training into practice. I felt totally prepared, which is testament to all the brilliant training I received along the way. A lot of expertise has been passed down.’

Brighton Lifeboat Operations Manager Roger Cohen explained: ‘Our volunteer crews are prepared to drop everything and risk their lives to save others at a moment's notice.

‘Their lifesaving work is essential, often difficult, and sometimes dangerous.

'Equally, I am very pleased that after all Ben’s hard work and commitment to training, involving many long cold nights afloat off the Brighton coast, Ben has achieved the status of RNLI Helm.

'He will be a great asset to the existing helms and will further enhance our ability to respond to the call to save lives at Brighton.'

Notes to editors:

· Photo 1: The crew from Brighton responding to a callout on Sunday, March 27. This was Ben's first shout as helm

· Photo 2: The Brighton crew on return from the call on Sunday, March 27. Left to right, John Webster, Radek Proutkovsky, Ben Hylands, Mark Steel

· Photo 3: Ben Hylands during his pass out with Poole assessor Elliot Herbert

· Photo 4: Ben Hylands

· Brighton is home to an Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat and provides a 24-hour search and rescue service between Newhaven and Shoreham. To learn more about the lifeboat station go to: https://rnli.org/find-my-nearest/lifeboat-stations/brighton-lifeboat-station

RNLI media contacts

For more information please contact Lotte Ikonen on 07576870669. Ben is keen to speak to any media outlet if they want to know more. If you would like to speak to him, please contact Lottie first.

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.

Safety advice

For the latest RNLI safety advice on a range of activities visit: https://rnli.org/safety

Learn more about the RNLI

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

@sussexincidents

Brighton tasked to paddle boarders in March 2022. This was Ben's first callout as helm

RNLI/Lottie Ikonen

Ben Hylands during his pass out with Poole assessor Elliot Herbert

RNLI/Lottie Ikonen

Ben Hylands

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.

Learn more about the RNLI

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.