Jimmy's story

Jimmy Early, full-time coxswain on our powerful Severn class all-weather lifeboat, was just 17 when he set foot on Arranmore lifeboat for the first time. He’s worked his way up, first becoming lifeboat mechanic then assistant coxswain. He became station coxswain in 2016 after 40 years with the RNLI.
RNLI Arranmore Coxswain Jimmy Early

Photo: RNLI/Arranmore

‘Lifeboating on the island is a family tradition,’ says Jimmy. ‘My son is second coxswain. There are two brothers on the lifeboat, and their sons. The crew have seafaring in their blood. It’s in our DNA.

‘My role involves everything from mopping floors to cleaning slipways, from running training sessions to being in charge of the lifeboat.

‘For me, crew training is invaluable. And we need to keep doing it, keep on top of our skills. Doing our job has to become second nature. You can’t do the job without training. You need to get to a certain level. The standard here is excellent.

‘It’s a good feeling when you can help people. I get an adrenaline rush when my pager goes off. We might go 3 weeks without a shout. Then sometimes we’ll get three in one day. It’s just as likely to happen at Christmas as at any other time of year. Christmas is a family time but if you get a shout on Christmas Day, you just go. It’s the same with other lifeboating families on the island.’

 

We might go 3 weeks without a shout. Then sometimes we’ll get three in one day.