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From the beat to the waves - Skegness RNLI Lee's story

Lifeboats News Release

Lee St Quinton, Skegness RNLI's Deputy 2nd Coxswain, and Senior Helm, has served as a Coxswain for just over a year, alongside his many years of voluntary service with the RNLI with roles prior to this.

RNLI Skegness

Lee and volunteer crew following rescue of a dog in 2016

The allure of Skegness's coastlines and its everchanging tides has witnessed countless tales of courage, commitment, and devotion, one of the most recent is that of Skegness RNLI’s newest coxswain, Deputy 2nd Coxswain and Senior Helm Lee St Quinton.

Lee joined the RNLI in 2006 and, like all volunteer crew members, started as Shore Crew before becoming an inshore lifeboat Helm and an all-weather lifeboat Navigator. However, in January 2022, Lee stepped up and became a Trainee Coxswain for the station and passed out in the role in September 2022.

His dedication radiates from the corridors of Lincolnshire Police to the undulating decks of the all-weather lifeboat (ALB), showcasing a commitment to community service. Lee joined Lincolnshire Police as a Police Constable in 2003 and has also risen up the ranks and now holds the position of Chief Inspector.

Lee reflects on his dual journey, marked by a compelling drive: ‘Both paths were fuelled by passion. Whether it was the longing to serve as a police officer or the pull of the sea, at the core was an insatiable desire to assist those in need.’

Starting as Shore Crew like all RNLI operational volunteers, he climbed the ladders of responsibility, equipped with skills and experiences vital for leadership roles in both areas. While he's eternally indebted to his mentors, notably Richard Watson, John Irving, and Ray Chapman MBE from the lifeboat side, his committment to the RNLI stands out.

His first time as Coxswain was one that he’ll never forget. Commanding a formidable £2m Shannon class all-weather lifeboat, Lee recalls the weight of expectations: ‘Every eye onboard sought guidance and decisions.’

However, the service launches as Deputy 2nd Coxswain followed soon, notably the rescue of a sailor amidst treacherous conditions in the might of the night. Such moments, he says, underscore the robustness of RNLI's training – preparing one for any storm, literal or metaphorical. Lee has now commanded Skegness' all-weather lifeboat on four service launches including the most recent vessel in distress off Skegness where he worked alongside Joe Pieniak (Skegness 2nd Coxswain and Humber Station Coxswain) as both stations were involved in the rescue.

Lee’s perspective as a Police Officer has honed his decision-making skills: ‘In moments of crisis, clarity in decision-making is paramount,’ he asserts, highlighting the parallels between his dual roles. ‘Whether it's the rigour of leadership, effective communication, or the spirit of teamwork, the essence remains consistent.’

For many, wearing two hats, both of which come with considerable pressure at times, might seem like a colossal task, but it's a testament to efficient teamwork, training and planning: ‘Every day, you pivot between roles. But with a robust team backing you, the ship, metaphorically and literally, always sails smoothly.'

Lee advises anyone considering joining the emergency services: ‘Reach out, immerse yourself. Experience the camaraderie because serving as a volunteer with the RNLI is not a job; it's a commitment.’

This summer, Lee and his team at Lincolnshire Police launched Operation Atlantis, a multi-agency collaboration. He describes it: ‘It symbolises the critical importance of collaboration using shared expertise and resources.’

Lee explains the initiative's approach: ‘Phase one is about proactive engagement. We ensure safety messages, like the Sandi Starfish wristbands, are widespread. The second phase is reactive, springing into action during emergencies, especially when missing individuals are involved.’

His dual roles have provided a unique lens: ‘Our summer agenda for Operation Atlantis was expansive,’ he notes, ‘It's about educating and safeguarding everyone, ensuring collaborations like ours with NCI Coastwatch and HM Coastguard and the RNLI, among others, translate to a more secure coast.’

As the waves of the Lincolnshire coastline ebb and flow, Lee St Quinton emerges as a symbol of service, commitment, and community cohesion.

Skegness RNLI thanks Lee for his unparalleled dedication to the charity and his community for over 15 years, and it looks forward to having Lee as one of its volunteers for many years to come.

Notes to editors

  • The RNLI is the Royal National Lifeboat Institution.
  • Skegness RNLI is based on Tower Esplanade, Skegness. The lifeboat station was founded in 1825, and the volunteer crew use an inshore D class lifeboat The Holland Family as well as an all-weather Shannon class lifeboat the Joel and April Grunnill.
  • Lee St Quinton is Chief Inspector (East Coast) with Lincolnshire Police as well as Deputy 2nd Coxswain and Senior Helm for Skegness RNLI Lifeboat Station.
  • Lee St Quinton joined Skegness RNLI Lifeboat Station in 2006 as a volunteer crew member, a role he has held to this day with over 15 years of voluntary service.
Relevant articles:

RNLI Skegness applauds Operation Atlantis as exemplar multi-agency collaboration:

RNLI Skegness and Humber launch to vessel in distress off Skegness

RNLI media contacts

For further information, please contact:

Brad Johnson, Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer for Skegness at: [email protected]

RNLI Press Office: 01202 336789 or [email protected]

RNLI Skegness

Lee with volunteer crew following Lifeboat Ball fundraising event in 2012

RNLI Skegness

Lee and volunteers at the Lincoln 10k in 2017

RNLI/Brad Johnson

Lee St Quinton, Deputy 2nd Coxswain

RNLI/Brad Johnson

Chief Inspector Lee with RNLI volunteers Craig, Stormy Stan and Adam

RNLI/Nigel Millard

Lee commanding inshore lifeboat alongside all-weather lifeboat

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.