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Walmer RNLI celebrates International Women’s Day

Lifeboats News Release

Today, 8 March, marks International Women’s Day 2023 which aims to celebrate and promote the achievements of all women.

RNLI/Christopher Winslade

Nic Goodban. Long-serving boat crew member and Talus driver.

For generations, women have saved lives, launched lifeboats, and raised millions for the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI). At Walmer RNLI, we celebrate past, present and future women crew members who are continuing this lifesaving legacy.

It is 54 years since the first woman qualified as an RNLI crew member. Women now make up around 12.3% of the RNLI’s volunteer lifeboat crew, a figure which is steadily growing.

With service to the Institution ranging from twenty-six years to a matter of weeks, Walmer lifeboat is very proud of the strong presence of women across multiple roles in the station. We currently have four boat crew, four shore crew, a launch and recovery vehicle driver, our shop manager, visits, education and water safety officers, admin officer and multiple fundraisers and shop volunteers.

Our current longest serving volunteer, Nicola Goodban, was honoured with her 20 Years Service Award in 2017 having joined the lifeboat in 1997. She was the first female volunteer on the crew. Since then, she has served as a first aider, inshore lifeboat crew member, tractor driver and as the station’s first Atlantic and D Class lifeboat helm.

Sue Kingswood, RNLI Inclusion and Diversity Manager said: ‘Creating an inclusive culture which supports diversity is key to our long-term sustainability. So, we’re working hard to make sure that a wide range of people see the RNLI as a charity where they’re welcome as volunteers, supporters or staff.

‘As we approach our 200th anniversary, women are now more evident in operational search and rescue (SAR) roles throughout the RNLI than they have ever been before. They are also better represented across operational management and in SAR training roles, which is great to see.

‘However, we still have a long way to go to achieve the representation we would like, not only where women are concerned, but across a much broader spectrum of diversity too.’

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

To find out more about Walmer lifeboat station go to

RNLI 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 or [email protected]

RNLI/Christopher Winslade

Debs Traher and Nic Goodban. Boat crew.

RNLI/Christopher Winslade

Volunteers with shop manager Julie Coe.

RNLI/Christopher Winslade

Dawn Whitbread and Ann Austin. Betty's Pots Co-ordinators.

RNLI/Christopher Winslade

Victoria Ward. Boat crew.

RNLI/Christopher Winslade

Kelsey Coe. Boat crew.

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

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.