BEHIND THE SCENES: RNLI SELSEY LIFEBOAT STATION
MEET THE VOLUNTEERS
Kristina Dolan: 6 years and 8 months with the RNLI Selsey station
Martin Rudwick: 47 years, 25 as a volunteer and 22 as a full-time coxswain
Phil Pitham: 21 years, 9 as a volunteer and the last 12 as a full-time mechanic
WHAT MADE YOU WANT TO JOIN THE RNLI?
Kristina: My grandad was in the navy and he used to tell me amazing stories about being at sea. I was always fascinated by the sea and when I moved to Selsey from London I decided to join the crew.
Martin: I had always been around the fishing beach and lifeboat station from a young age. When the boat was out I used to sit in the mechanic’s workshop and listen to the radio communications, probably from about the age of 9 or 10. After I finished my apprenticeship I started working on the local fishing boats and the then Coxswain asked me to join the lifeboat crew.
Phil: To fulfill a childhood ambition.
The great thing about the crew at Selsey is we work together, if one of us does not know how to do something, someone else on board will step in and help.
DO YOU ALSO HAVE A DAY JOB?
Kristina: I am an activities coordinator at Tenchley Manor nursing home in Selsey. My manager and the residents are very supportive of the RNLI. I do sometimes feel like I have 33 grandparents – they tend to cheer me out the door when my pager goes off and they wait to hear what happened when I get back.
Martin: My day job was full time Coxswain with the RNLI, before my retirement in April.
Phil: I am the Selsey Lifeboat Station mechanic. I work 37 hours a week at the boathouse and remain on call for the other 131 hrs of the week at home, just a couple of minutes from the Lifeboat Station. My work mainly comprises of planned maintenance and repairs to our lifeboat and equipment.
WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT BEING PART OF THE RNLI?
Kristina: Helping those that are in need. It gives you a great sense of community spirit. I enjoy the challenge that it brings and learning new things.
Martin: The togetherness of being a crew, the challenge of some of the shouts and above all the knowledge that you are helping others and possibly saving someone’s life.
Phil: Seeing the effort so many different people put in to keeping our lifeboats ready to go.
YOU HAVE TO PUT A LOT OF TRUST INTO YOUR KIT, TOOLS AND TEAM- HOW DO YOU DO THIS?
Kristina: By feeling confident in the features that all the kit has. For example, I am only 5ft 3in and have size 5 feet. As the new Helly Hansen kit is made to measure, it fits perfectly. We have thermal underwear, gilets, waterproof trousers, and thin and thick hooded jackets, so we can dress according to the season, which is great for comfort.
Martin: Through my years of experience and knowing that we have excellent kit and training.
Thanks to the generosity of our donors, we can put trust in our kit, tools and team.
trust is a trait that is earned- how does this resonate with your rnli role?
Kristina: Because of the nature of our volunteer work it is important that we trust each other. When we get taken on, we have a trial period as it is important for the crew to get on and work together. Team-building exercises and the training itself are great ways to build trust.
Martin: You have to build trust in each other as a crew and also have complete trust in the boat and equipment.
FIND OUT MORE ABOUT SUPPORTING THE RNLI
If you want to help fund the amazing work of the RNLI and the heroes like Kristina, Martin and Phil, please visit the RNLI.org
Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI), a charity registered in England and Wales (209603), Scotland (SC037736), the Republic of Ireland (20003326), the Bailiwick of Jersey (14), the Isle of Man, the Bailiwick of Guernsey and Alderney