Mark Dowie returns to Salcombe RNLI to welcome their new lifesaving kit

Our new Chief Executive Mark Dowie, visited Salcombe Lifeboat Station this week as the lifeboat crew received their new Helly Hansen lifesaving kit. 
Chief Executive, Mark Dowie, at Salcombe RNLI with the new Helly Hansen kit

Photo: Richard Clayton/RNLI

Mark, who became our Chief Executive in May, spent 2 years in the voluntary role of Lifeboat Operations Manager at Salcombe RNLI.  

‘We know it’s up to the challenges our crews face’

Mark says: 

‘It’s great to see this fantastic new kit arrive at the station. The crew members here at Salcombe are among the very last to receive this new all-weather lifeboat crew kit, which has been supplied to over 125 lifeboat stations now. Our volunteer crews across the UK and Ireland have worn this amazing kit in all kinds of conditions when they’ve been out saving lives at sea, so we know it’s up to the challenges our crews face.’

The new kit is supplied by Helly Hansen as part of a partnership with the RNLI and has been rolled out to all-weather lifeboat stations since the programme began in September 2018. The kit is also worn by crew at Tower and Chiswick Lifeboat Stations on the Thames.

The new kit is lighter, more comfortable and designed to allow greater freedom of movement than the kit it is replacing, ensuring RNLI crew members have the very best kit to wear when they go out to sea in all weathers.

The kit comes in a wide range of sizes and has bespoke designs to fit both male and female crew members, unlike the kit it is replacing. The new bib, midlayer and baselayer garments have a specific fit for female crew members, enabling increased comfort and freedom of movement.

‘The new gear is absolutely fantastic’

Chris Winzar, Coxswain at Salcombe Lifeboat Station, says: 

‘We’re delighted to have received this new all-weather lifeboat crew kit. The new gear is absolutely fantastic. It’s much lighter than the old kit. It’s waterproof and it uses breathable fabric, which is ideal for the more demanding tasks we often need to carry out on the lifeboat. Even in the harshest conditions, we know this kit will help to keep us warm, dry and safe when we’re out at sea.’

As part of the partnership, Helly Hansen has committed to supporting the RNLI through a variety of lifesaving activities. These include delivering drowning prevention messages to their customers, generating income, supporting fundraising and safety campaigns, product innovation and supplying the very best kit to the RNLI’s lifesavers.