Dawn Hodge becomes the first female helm of Bembridge RNLI’s D-Class ILB

Lifeboats News Release

Dawn Hodge, who joined Bembridge RNLI in November 2018, has successfully passed her D-Class helm assessment to become the first ever female helm in the station’s 155-year history.

Dawn standin alongside D-778 - RNLB Norman Harvey

RNLI/John Keyworth

Dawn Hodge having just been passed out as a D-Class helm

Dawn was born and grew up in Bembridge before leaving the island to study at university in Leeds. After graduating, she worked in sports management for several years, latterly for UK Sport in London working in world sports events. After London, she moved to France and ran a ski chalet business with her partner, before returning to the Island in 2010. Dawn now works as a sports massage and soft tissue therapist, having trained at the prestigious London School of Sports Massage.

Dawn has always loved her sport and has previous representative honours in rugby, hockey and athletics. When not on the lifeboat or working, she can often be found on the golf course.

John Keyworth, Lifeboat Operations Manager, Bembridge RNLI commented on Dawn’s success “I am delighted with Dawn’s progress, since joining the station just three years ago with no boating experience, to have now achieved the position of helm is a testament to her commitment, passion and enthusiasm. Not forgetting of course, the countless hours of study and practice she has put in to achieve this position.”

Guy Willing, Coxswain Bembridge RNLI said “The responsibility of helm on the inshore lifeboat is one which requires a calm head and hand in what can be testing conditions. Now I know that the tradition of highly competent helms at Bembridge RNLI will be carried on and I have no doubt Dawn will do us proud in the future.”

Dawn said “It’s a privilege to be a helm at Bembridge, let alone the first female helm. I’ve loved the challenges so far that being on the lifeboat have presented. I hope that my success shows that you don’t need to have a maritime background to get involved and will inspire more girls and women to volunteer for the RNLI.”


RNLI media contacts

  • Mike Samuelson, Bembridge RNLI volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer, on 07785 593254 or [email protected]

  • Paul Dunt, RNLI Press Officer London/East/South East) on 0207 6207416, 07786 668825 [email protected]

  • For enquiries outside normal business hours, contact the RNLI duty press officer on 01202 336789

Dawn and her Assessor/Trainer Gary Stanbury shaking hands.

RNLI/John Keyworth

Dawn and Gary Stanbury - RNLI Assessor Trainer

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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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