There’s No Gender Barrier at Cowes with the RNLI!
It’s a picture that provides the clearest evidence – that when it comes to the RNLI at Cowes being female is categorically no bar to any role in the organisation.
Whether its boat crew, shore crew, Deputy Launch Authority (responsible for authorising the launch of the lifeboats), plant operator, running the local RNLI shop or being a member of the visits team – they are all responsibilities ably undertaken by women in the town.
And to further underline the RNLI’s cross-gender policy, after this all-female picture was taken at the station today (Wednesday) the lifeboat was launched on a Cowes Week exercise with an all-women crew. And at the controls was Libby Finch, who only recently qualified as the station’s first woman helm.
Mark Southwell, Station Operations Manager, said, 'As far back as 15 years ago the then-independent Cowes lifeboat already had a mixed crew, which went on transfer to the RNLI service. So, from the start we have been able to demonstrate that the lifeboat it not a men’s club, and its not a club at all - but a serious professional service – ready at a moment’s notice.
'Today 30 percent of the station itself is female. There are no bars or prejudices towards anyone here. Logically that’ll be a 50/50 split one day and rightly so, thus reflecting the population of Cowes. And all lifeboats should fully represent their towns'.
'I have to say that I admire anyone, man or woman, who happily to turns up and launches in such foul conditions as we have experienced today, and still has a broad smile'!
Photo 1: Cowes RNLI has women in a huge variety of roles at the station from boat crew, to shore crew, plant operator, the shop, visits team and Deputy Launch Authority.
Photo 2: The boat and shore crew before the exercise
Photo 3: The all-women crewed lifeboat cuts through the Solent's waves.
RNLI media contacts
- George Chastney, Cowes RNLI Volunteer Press Officer 07530 254052/ [email protected]
- Paul Dunt, RNLI Media Regional Officer (London/East/South East) 0207 6207426/ 07785 296252/ [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.
Learn more about the RNLI
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