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Change at the helm of St Davids RNLI as long-standing Coxswain hangs up his kit

Lifeboats News Release

St Davids RNLI Coxswain Dai John, who has been involved in over 420 rescues since joining the RNLI at the age of 18 is set to hang up his lifejacket.

RNLI

Will Chant (left) with Dai John (right)
He will be handing over the reins to Will Chant, a volunteer with St Davids RNLI for over 25 years.

Following a long family tradition with the RNLI, Will Chant will become the 16th Coxswain of RNLI St Davids Lifeboat.

Will’s father Dai Chant was the 13th Coxswain of St Davids Lifeboat. His great-great uncle, Henry Rowlands, was also involved with the charity, and tragically lost his life on the RNLI Lifeboat “Gem” in the 1910 disaster.

RNLI Area Lifesaving Manager Roger Smith said “I am delighted to announce the appointment of William Chant as Coxswain of RNLI St Davids Lifeboat. He brings a wealth of operational command experience to the role from his time as a volunteer Coxswain and Helm, and commands wide respect”.

One of Will’s notable rescues as a crewman took place in August 2019, when there was a climber in difficulty in the water near Porth Clais harbour. He entered the water untethered to prevent her drowning, saving her life.

Will is looking forward to working alongside his brother Mike who is the full-time mechanic at St Davids.

The retiring Coxswain, Dai John also has a long family tradition with the charity as his grandfather David John was with the RNLI as well as his father, former Coxswain and Mechanic Fred John along with other family members.

Dai joined the charity in August 1986 at just 18 years old. Since then, he has been involved in over 420 rescues one of these was the “Yves Marie Amil” rescue in December 2004 whereby three fishermen were rescued from a burning trawler at night, in near gale force winds and a rough sea which he received a RNLI Letter of Thanks.

Dai became a full time Coxswain in October 2006. He recounts one of his most notable rescues.

‘In March 2008 I was Coxswain for the rescue of the 111-ton trawler “Western Belle” and her five crew in a 14-hour rescue. The vessel had suffered power failure 32 miles out to sea at night and in gale force winds and a very rough sea. The trawler was towed to Milford Haven and during the rescue the tow line parted three times and had to be reconnected.’

For this rescue Dai received the RNLI’s Thanks on Vellum for courage, leadership and seamanship.

Will is to assume full-time duties as Coxswain on the 7th July.

RNLI media contacts

For more information contact Scott Dixon, RNLI Media Engagement Placement on 07890 066217 or email [email protected]. Alternatively contact Eleri Roberts, RNLI Regional Media Officer on 07771 941390 / [email protected].


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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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