In fact, Csilla’s first experience of the RNLI was with the lifeboat crew. She switched roles when family and work started to take up more of her time. When she’s not launching lifeboats Csilla drives fork-lift trucks at Moneypoint Power Station, so operating and being around machinery is something she’s used to.
‘It takes two of us to launch the lifeboat. My job is to control the traffic – making sure no one crosses in front of the lifeboat during launch or recovery. Conditions can change making it sometimes difficult and windy work. At night it can be hard to see the navigation marks in the estuary. It’s harder still when it’s raining.
‘We train regularly, signing up for one or maybe two training exercises a week. This gives us the practice we need to be able to do our job effectively in all weathers, day or night. We get assessed in exactly the same way as the lifeboat crew.’
Things get a little trickier in the summer when more people go out on the water. ‘We need to take even more care then,’ says Csilla. ‘We have to watch out for the big ships too, which sometimes anchor up, four or five at a time.’
As well as launching the lifeboat, Csilla also makes sure that all the station’s lifejackets and other lifesaving equipment are regularly serviced and tested. At other times she helps to run lifejacket clinics - training members of the public how to use, wear and look after their lifejackets properly.
'Although it’s not part of my job I like to help with shoreline searches when I can. I remember one involving a kitesurfer. Thankfully he was found - cold but otherwise OK.'
It takes two of us to launch the lifeboat. My job is to control the traffic – making sure no one crosses in front of the lifeboat during launch and recovery.