Phil's story

Phil Sanderson helms both of Minehead’s inshore lifeboats. When he’s not at the lifeboat station or on a shout, you’ll find him in the control room at Hinkley Point Nuclear Power Station.
RNLI Minehead Helm Phil Sanderson

Photo: RNLI/Nigel Millard

‘I’ve been on the crew for 27 years now, the last 20 as helm. I used to be a very keen windsurfer. After the lifeboat rescued my windsurfer friends, we got talking to the crew who said: ‘Why don’t you come and help?’ So the three of us joined up and we stayed on the crew together for several years.

‘Until recently I was senior helm – it’s a job we hold for a year. It’s a coordinating role – sorting out any crew issues at the station.

‘I’m also one of the RNLI’s new trainer-assessors. I train the shore crew and boat crew, and carry out training assessments. And I plan crew training exercises involving the bigger of the two lifeboats. So it all takes up quite a bit of my time!

‘We’ve had a busy year. I think we’re on 23 call outs already. That’s in addition to all the training.

‘I remember going to the aid of a work boat that was sinking - a joint rescue with Barry Dock and Burnham-on-Sea lifeboats. The lifeboats worked together to save three men. It was our most complex shout this year so far.

‘When we’re on the lifeboat we work together as a close-knit team. We do our job. If we have any differences – like any good team – we put them aside to get the job done.

 

We do our job. If we have any differences – like any good team – we put them aside to get the job done.