Shore crew are sure to keep St Davids RNLI lifeboat afloat
The sight of volunteer crew dressed in yellow on board a lifeboat is a familiar one, but did you know that to be able to launch to save lives at sea requires dedicated shore crew too?
This Volunteers Week 1-7 June we will be celebrating these lifesaving volunteers at St Davids RNLI. The role of the shore crew is to help with the launch and recovery of the lifeboats on service, the all-weather lifeboat Norah Wortley and inshore lifeboat Marian and Alan Clayton.
Every new crew member spends their first six months as shore crew, learning how to use the winches, cranes and ropes that successfully launch the lifeboats before progressing to boat crew. At St Davids, two long term volunteers are dedicated shore crew with a central role in securing the safety of the lifeboats and crew.
David Griffiths (Dai) celebrates 24 years as a shore crew volunteer on 7 June having followed in his family’s footsteps and joining the station shortly after his 17th birthday. Dai, a full time farmer, says: ‘I had wanted to join for a number of years, mainly because my Dad was the winchman at the time and I had gone down to watch since I was small. I had always thought I would have a sea-going career and all the glory that comes with that, but the sea didn’t agree with me and there seemed more to do on the farm. So, I became part of the shore crew just like my Dad, Grandfather and Great Grandfather did. It also meant I could go down on a shout or exercise and launch the boat, go back to the farm and feed the cattle or whatever needed doing and then go back down the boathouse to help rehousing.’
As head launcher, Dai is in charge of lifeboat launch and oversees a team of shore crew. Asked what he enjoys about being part of the RNLI, Dai says: ’Most of the time I work by myself so it’s great to be part of a team and all the banter that comes with that.’
Self-employed carpenter Ceri Davies joined the crew in 2005 and has been head winchman for the last 15 years. Ceri says: ‘I joined the crew later in life at the age of 39. I had a few mates who were crew and often went down the station for the odd cup of tea, and having a boat myself I decided to join. As I am self-employed and mainly work in St Davids I am able to make a good amount of shouts. I enjoy being part of the crew and having a bit of laugh now and again.’
Both David and Ceri agree that the final launch of Tyne class Garside from the old lifeboat station and the first for Tamar class Norah Wortley from the new state of the art station in 2016 are highlights from their time volunteering for the charity.
John Williams, volunteer Lifeboat Operations Manager, says: ‘David and Ceri are much valued members of the St Davids RNLI crew. Without their ongoing commitment to launch and subsequently retrieve our lifeboats we would not be able to deliver our operational services that enable us to save lives at sea. At St Davids, we are grateful to all our volunteers who ensure our proud RNLI history continues.’
RNLI media contacts
For more information please telephone Simone Eade, RNLI volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer on 07799 804 922 or [email protected] or Claire Elshaw, Regional Media Officer on 7468 353 0821 or [email protected] or contact the RNLI Press Office 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 over 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and, in a normal year, 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.
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
Contacting the RNLI - public enquiries