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RNLI Minehead seeks new recruits

Lifeboats News Release

The hunt is on to find new volunteers to join the RNLI lifeboat crew in Minehead.

Officials at the Somerset station have launched a recruitment drive to attract a new intake for their team.

It comes as crew numbers start to fall as a result of retirements and other departures – not so much as to compromise the station’s responses to emergency calls, says RNLI local operations manager Dr John Higgie, but by enough to make it necessary to look for new members.

“We are not in any immediate danger of being short of crew and we have several very promising probationers going through the training process and who will be able to go afloat in due course,” he said.

“But it does take at least two years for a new crew member to become fully-trained, so we have to start thinking now about our needs two years down the line.”

The station operates two lifeboats – an Atlantic 85 and a smaller D-class – and covers the Somerset and Devon coastline from Hinkley Point in the east to Lynmouth in the west.

Its sector includes much of the Exmoor coast and the highest sea cliffs in England, and a number of rescues the Minehead crew has recently carried out there have featured in the latest BBC series on the RNLI, Saving Lives at Sea.

The station is holding an open recruitment morning on Sunday October 29 when the boats will be launched at 10 am and there will be a chance for would-be new recruits to meet the crew and learn about their work.

Officials say they are keen to hear from men or women aged from 17 to 45 with a reasonable degree of fitness and who are competent swimmers.

Dr Higgie said membership of the crew offered full training, a chance to new skills and an opportunity serve the community.

“So we are looking for people with a sense of adventure – but who also have plenty of time at their disposal,” he said.

“What with the training, answering shouts and various social activities crew membership involves making a pretty serious time commitment, and people need to be aware of that from the outset.

“On the other hand we can offer almost unlimited excitement – as any of our current crew will testify.”

Key facts about the RNLI

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution is the charity that saves lives at sea. Our volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service in the United Kingdom and Ireland from 238 lifeboat stations, including four along the River Thames and inland lifeboat stations at Loch Ness, Lough Derg, Enniskillen and Lough Ree. Additionally the RNLI has more than 1,000 lifeguards on over 240 beaches around the UK and operates a specialist flood rescue team, which can respond anywhere across the UK and Ireland when inland flooding puts lives at risk.

The RNLI relies on public donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. As a charity it is separate from, but works alongside, government-controlled and funded coastguard services. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824 our lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved at least 140,000 lives. Volunteers make up 95% of the charity, including 4,600 volunteer lifeboat crew members and 3,000 volunteer shore crew. Additionally, tens of thousands of other dedicated volunteers raise funds and awareness, give safety advice, and help in our museums, shops and offices.

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The RNLI is a charity registered in England and Wales (209603) and Scotland (SC037736). Charity number 20003326 in the Republic of Ireland