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RNLI gains new volunteer Thames Helm

Lifeboats News Release

On Sunday 26 November, volunteer Aaron Reynolds was assessed and successfully passed out at the highest serving volunteer boat crew rank on the River Thames.

Aaron Reynolds sat on the wheel of the orange lifeboat


Aaron Reynolds on the helm of Gravesend RNLI's B-827

Aaron will now take duty command, carrying the responsibility of the duty crew on the twelve-hour shift, ensuring Gravesend RNLI’s twenty-six-mile patch is search & rescue operational.

Aaron joined the charity in 2014 after being supported by the RNLI with his hobby for sailing, so felt the need to return the favour.

RNLI Assessor Trainer Natalie Adams said, 'To date Aaron has volunteered over 1260 hours at the station and more than 300 hours afloat on the river, this has all paid excellence towards passing out, in fact during the assessment a tasked job from HM Coastguard came in which Aaron commanded'.

Newly promoted Aaron said, ‘The training has been a real challenge but very rewarding, I’ve learnt a great deal and every day has been a school day’

‘Finishing my Thames Helm plan is a huge achievement and I’m looking forward to my first shift as duty commander’.

Gravesend RNLI Station Manager Ian Smith said, ‘It’s been an absolute pleasure to watch Aaron train and develop his skill set on the crew. His perseverance and determination has paid off and he brings a wealth of nautical experience and excellent decision-making skills into a challenging role as helm.’

All Gravesend RNLI boat crew volunteer their time and frequently train to progress through different ranks, you can find out more here.

RNLI Media Contacts

For further information, please contact:

Ashley Bard, Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer for Gravesend RNLI email [email protected]

Paul Dunt, Regional Media Officer (London and South East), on 07785 296 252 or email [email protected]

Julie Rainey, Regional Media Manager (South East), on 07827 358 256 or email [email protected]

RNLI Press Office on 01202 336789 or email [email protected]

RNLI online

For more information on the RNLI please visit News releases and other media resources, including RSS feeds, downloadable photos and video, are available at the RNLI News Centre

Key facts about Gravesend RNLI

Gravesend RNLI is one of the RNLI’s newest lifeboat stations and one of four lifeboat stations operating on the River Thames. The first stations to specifically cover a river rather than estuarial waters or the sea.

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.