‘I love being out on the water, and what better way than training to be a lifeboat volunteer?’
Dean trains three or four times a month and is excited to be learning new skills. Starting with the basics, he learnt about the different roles and responsibilities on the lifeboat and how to take care of his crew kit. Training sessions afloat give Dean practice in navigation, anchoring and towing – essential skills that he’ll need to master before he passes out as a fully-fledged member of the lifeboat crew.
Dean’s fishermen friends face danger every day. Knowing the lifeboat crews are there, and that Dean is training to be one of them, means a lot. ‘My family think I’m really brave,’ says Dean. ‘But I’m doing it because I love it. I take it very seriously and I’m proud of what I do.I get a real buzz from helping people. Sometimes I sit there staring at the pager, wishing it would go off. When it does, I go straight to the station, get my kit on and wait to be picked.
‘My first shout was 4 June last year. I remember it clearly - it was a lovely day. I received a ‘launch both boats’ pager message. I was in the hairdressers - half way through a haircut, and jumped out of my seat. I sprinted through town.
Five teenagers had been cut off by the tide. I was on the all-weather lifeboat. The inshore lifeboat transferred them onto the all-weather boat, then we took them to Torquay Harbour. I helped with the transfer and got blankets to keep the casualties warm and dry.
‘I did my first crew training at RNLI College in February this year. It included 2 days learning about crew emergency procedures, including firefighting and sea survival. It was great to talk to people from other lifeboat stations. We’re all different and we all have different stories to tell.’