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Scarborough RNLI crew member travels over 500 miles to become a SAR navigator

Lifeboats News Release

Aaron Yeoman, an all-weather lifeboat (ALB) Navigator at Scarborough RNLI visited the RNLI College, in Poole from 12-14 June 2023. He completed the Search and Rescue (SAR) Navigator course. To attend the college, he had to complete a 620 mile return journey.

rofile of Arron Yeoman in a yellow RNLI crew jacket with Scarborough South Bay in the background.

RNLI/Erik Woolcott

Aaron Yeoman, ALB Navigator, Scarborough RNLI

This three-day course consisted of gaining practical experience and knowledge by going to sea on the RNLI training boat (a 42ft Hardy cruiser), using the Lifeboat Simulator and also in a classroom environment.

It’s a great opportunity for volunteer ALB crew to learn new skills, building upon those already acquired as an ALB navigator, such as wheelhouse command experience and efficient communications.

The first day was a combination of classroom theory and practical sea-based training, focused on search patterns that can be used to locate anyone who needs help in the water.

Day two consisted of training in the Lifeboat Simulator, which is based on the Severn Class (the largest vessel in the RNLI fleet). Building on the previous day’s search pattern exercise, students practised chart work and calculating the position of a casualty after drifting from their last known position.

Aaron commented: ‘Wind and tide have a big impact on a casualty's new location, as a SAR Navigator this is a skill that needs to be practised over and over again.’

The final day returned to training afloat, conducting advanced and uncommon search patterns. For example, a Multi Vessel Search, this requires great precision and communication by SAR Navigators as numerous other boats as well as the lifeboat are used as part of a search effort.

The support vessels tend to take instructions from the RNLI SAR Navigator as they are often the incident on scene coordinator.

Students were tested in the afternoon with scenarios to consolidate their knowledge and experience. Just like in reality, students including Aaron, were not briefed about the type of incident scenario beforehand. This added to the intensity and realism of the exercises.

Aaron commented on his time at RNLI College, Poole, saying: ‘This course has certainly helped improve my knowledge and build upon the experiences I have already gained as an ALB Navigator and crew member for Scarborough RNLI.

'There were some interesting scenarios over the three days that tested my skill and ability as a SAR Navigator. The knowledge and information I gained on the course have allowed me to become a better crew member and SAR Navigator.

'I also hope that what I have learnt and experienced on the course I can pass on to my fellow volunteer crew back at Scarborough RNLI.’

Congratulations Aaron on your achievement.

When spending time on the water, the RNLI would like to remind everyone to:

Notes to editors

  • Scarborough lifeboat station has been operating since 1801. To learn more about the lifeboat station go to:

RNLI Picture captions

  • Profile of Aaron Yeoman: Credit: Erik Woolcott.

  • All other images: RNLI/ Aaron Yeoman

RNLI media contacts

For more information please telephone Laura Lyth, RNLI volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer on 01723 360520 or [email protected] or Clare Hopps, Regional Media Officer on 07824 518641 or [email protected] or contact the RNLI Press Office on 01202 336789.

Crew checking fenders on the left (port) side of the RNLI training vessel 'Robert S Ellsmore'

RNLI/Aaron Yeoman

RNLI training vessel 'Robert S Ellsmore'
Several all weather lifeboats moored up at the lifeboat training centre RNLI college, Poole

RNLI/Aaron Yeoman

Several ALBs at the lifeboat training centre RNLI college, Poole
Electronic chart plotter screen in use onboard the RNLI training vessel 'Robert S Ellsmore'

RNLI/Aaron Yeoman

Electronic chartwork onboard the RNLI training vessel 'Robert S Ellsmore'
Student conducting SAR navigation exercises onboard the RNLI LIfeboat simulator.

RNLI/Aaron Yeoman

RNLI Lifeboat Simulator - Severn Class Wheelhouse
Sunset of Holes Bay, with the bow of lifeboat RNLI 13-48 in the foreground taken from the RNLI College, Poole.

RNLI/Laura Lyth

Sunset over Holes Bay which was taken from the RNLI College, Poole

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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For more information please visit the RNLI website or Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. News releases, videos and photos are available on the News Centre.

Contacting the RNLI - public enquiries

Members of the public may contact the RNLI on 0300 300 9990 (UK) or 1800 991802 (Ireland) or by email.