Three Fowey RNLI volunteer crew qualify as mechanics

Lifeboats News Release

On March 9th and 10th three volunteer crew members from Fowey lifeboat station passed out as qualified operational mechanics, trained for duty on the station’s Trent class all-weather lifeboat.


Nat Wilkinson

The three crew members are Steven Harris who has been an all-weather lifeboat crew member with Fowey RNLI for four years. Graham Middlewood, who is inshore lifeboat and all-weather lifeboat crew trained with five years service in Fowey, and Nat Wilkinson who is also inshore and all-weather lifeboat crew with four years service.

Operational mechanics provide cover for the lifeboat. The all-weather lifeboat cannot launch without a duty mechanic onboard. As mechanics, they are trained to start and stop the boat, manage emergency procedures and deal with minor defects in the engine operating machinery. While at sea the mechanic is responsible for fire safety and fire emergency procedures, rectifying minor mechanical problems and ensuring that equipment is running safely.

Commenting on her time with Fowey RNLI, Nat said: ‘I’ve been able to take opportunities to learn new skills, and have developed an interest in furthering them, both with the RNLI and in my day to day life.’

The training took around 18 months, with slight delays due to Covid restrictions. Lifeboat Operations Manager Chris Ogg said: ‘The mechanic is an important role on a lifeboat, as with any large ship, it can’t go to sea without a mechanic onboard. Nat, Graham and Steven have all worked hard and applied themselves well in training. They received some instruction at the RNLI college in Poole and a lot of practical training, experience and shadowing during our regular training exercises on the all-weather lifeboat. Congratulations to all three on their achievement.’


Steven Harris


Graham Middlewood

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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