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Four Fowey RNLI volunteer lifeboat crew successfully pass out

Lifeboats News Release

Four Fowey RNLI volunteers completed the next stages of their training in February 2023. Luke Watts becomes a qualified lifeboat navigator and Tom Cunningham, Oli Luck and Harry Smith all passed out as fully trained inshore lifeboat crew.

Fowey RNLI

Luke Watts

Luke joined Fowey lifeboat station in 2020 and qualified as an all-weather lifeboat and inshore lifeboat crew member 15 months later. Just 11 months after that he has now qualified as a lifeboat navigator.

Luke, who manages the local butchers and delicatessen said: ‘Coming up to my final Nav assessment, I was a bit nervous but also had a lot of confidence in knowing that all my training from the crew and assessors at our station will be put into practice. As a lot of the crew know, I don’t leave Fowey too much so they should have a bit of reassurance that I can navigate the water better than I can navigate the roads leading out of Fowey. Thanks to everyone at the station who has helped with my Navigation and I’m looking forward to continuing to learn each time we step on the boats to go and help people at sea.’

Tom Cunningham, Oli Luck and Harry Smith all successfully completed their training and are now fully qualified inshore lifeboat crew. Tom, who joined the Fowey crew in 2022, and also passed out as crew on the all-weather lifeboat a couple of months ago said: ‘Going back to when I was a child, I’ve always wanted to be on the lifeboat crew and from being accepted to now I haven't looked back. I love every minute of it. The best bit about being on the crew is we are like one big family, we are all there for each other in a heartbeat. My training has taught me new skills that can also be applied to everyday life. I’d say to anyone who wants to join, go for it, you won't be disappointed.’

Oli, who is a marine engineer and trainee commercial diver said: ‘Joining the lifeboat crew has been a lifelong ambition for me, having spent my entire life out on boats and all of my working career either on or under them. I enjoy every minute I am with the crew not just at the station and on the boats but socially in the pubs and at crew events. Being D-class crew is physically tough so I was pleased to pass all of these units. I love the feeling of adrenaline and excitement when the pager goes off running to the station anticipating what we will be facing. I am proud to include RNLI volunteer lifeboat crew on my CV.’

Fowey’s D class inshore lifeboat the Olive Three, has a top speed of 25 knots, and can endure 3 hours at sea at this speed on search and rescue missions – a crucial factor when lives are at risk.

Harry said: ‘I’m excited to get out on the inshore lifeboat this summer and use everything that I have learnt in the past year.’

Fowey Coxswain Jonathan Pritchard concludes: ‘I am very pleased for the four of them. They have all worked very hard and shown great dedication and enthusiasm throughout their training. Each one of them is an asset to Fowey lifeboat station and everyone congratulates them on their successful passing out.

Fowey RNLI

Tom Cunningham

Fowey RNLI

Oli Luck

Fowey RNLI

Harry Smith

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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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.