Walmer RNLI celebrates its latest helm progression

Lifeboats News Release

Walmer volunteer James Foster successfully passed out as helm on the station’s D Class lifeboat Duggie Rodbard II last night, 22 February.

RNLI/Christopher Winslade

After undertaking a number of assessed scenarios, two hours of drills and questions and a strong performance at sea last night, James was successfully passed out by Area Lifesaving Manager Allen Head as helm for our D Class lifeboat.

James was recognised as ‘competent’ crew in March 2020 and was placed on a plan to become a fully qualified D Class helm. As well as his on-going afloat assessments he also attended the four-day intensive search and rescue command course at the RNLI College in Poole in April 2021, where he undertook classroom based and afloat training in both simulated and realistic practical environments and learned the planning, leadership and practical skills necessary when in command of the lifeboat. He was given guidance how to develop his own crew and was made aware of his responsibility for all operations from launch to recovery of casualties, with a mind to ensuring the safety of his crew at all times.

After the initial briefing for both boat and shore crew he was immediately tasked with a scenario of a report of a person in the water off The Coastguard pub in St Margaret’s Bay. A simulated shoreline search was carried out. A further scenario was later introduced of a missing swimmer in the water. Again, a search using searchlights was carried out. Other tasks and questions during the assessment included a man overboard exercise, anchoring and veering and emergency procedures. On completion of the assessment, the boat was successfully beached ashore and a debrief conducted.

Following the assessment James was praised by the station’s Operations Manager Denis Brophy for his commitment, drive and hard work in achieving his success as well as thanking the efforts of the station’s current helms and Divisional Assessor Dave Needham for encouraging and training James to this high standard.


Notes to editors

Walmer lifeboat station was established in 1856.

It currently operates two inshore lifeboats – a B Class Atlantic 85 Donald McLauchlan and a smaller D Class Duggie Rodbard II.

Crews have received 28 Awards for Gallantry

Photo 1 James Foster (right) with Area Lifesaving Manager Allen Head (left), with crew members Neil Franks and Luke Curry.


RNLI media contacts

  • Chris Winslade, Lifeboat Press Officer, Walmer Lifeboat Station on 01304 374475 or 07906 623037 [email protected]
  • For enquiries outside normal business hours, contact the RNLI duty press officer on 01202 336789

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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