SAVING LIVES OFF THE DORSET COAST: MEET THE RNLI SWANAGE VOLUNTEERS
With a legacy of over 140 years, the Swanage Lifeboat Station was established in 1875 and has saved 722 lives to date. The station is one of over 230 RNLI lifeboat stations around the coast of the UK and the Republic of Ireland and consists of two lifeboats, an All Weather ‘Shannon’ class lifeboat and a ‘D-Class’ inshore lifeboat.
We spoke to three incredible RNLI Swanage Station volunteers and discovered how they push themselves to go further and stay motivated for each challenge that comes their way. To reach that goal and shatter their personal limits, they need trust- trust in their kit, their training and most importantly, in themselves.
Whilst hard work and determination will get you so far, it’s trust that takes you further. Everyone has a further, an ambition yet to be achieved, difficulties still to be faced and places that feel out of reach.
MEET THE VOLUNTEERS
Becky Mack: All-weather Lifeboat Crew & Inshore Lifeboat Helm, with over 14 years as a volunteer
Rich Lloyd: Trainee All-weather Lifeboat Crew & Inshore Lifeboat Crew, with 3 half years as a volunteer
Tom Greasty: Inshore Lifeboat Helmsman & All-weather Lifeboat Deputy 2nd Coxswain, Assistant Mechanic, with 21 years as a volunteer
WHAT MADE YOU WANT TO JOIN THE RNLI?
Becky: It has always made sense to me to volunteer – I had no reason not to – I live locally, I know people on the crew, and I always wanted to do something for my community.
Rich: I have always been inspired by the work that the RNLI volunteers do, I previously volunteered at the South Central Ambulance Service before moving to the coast, so this felt like a great progression.
Tom: I have always worked at sea and know what it is like when things go wrong! I wanted to be able to help people when they are in that position.
I think it is really important to set goals and push yourself or you will just stand still.
DO YOU ALSO HAVE A DAY JOB?
Becky: I am a Chartered Patent Attorney as my day job. Luckily, most of my deadlines run to midnight, so if I get a callout during work hours, I can catch up later in the day.
Rich: I work full time for a company called Land & Wave and manage their school residential trips, I train and assess self-employed Lifeguards and I also chair two charities. At home, I have 4 sons and my awesome wife who gives me the support to go and support my community in so many ways. I would love for my children to follow my lead to volunteer and help others using whatever skills they may have.
Tom: I am a fisherman and a charter boat skipper. I have two young boys so juggling work and home life can be hard, but the boys love the boats so I get them out when I can! I must admit after a busy few weeks fishing it is nice to have a few windy days to spend some time ashore.
WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT BEING PART OF THE RNLI?
Rebecca: The RNLI has given me the opportunity to learn new skills that have enabled me to be part of an amazing team that has saved lives.
Rich: I’m very proud of the work that the RNLI does, I also love being involved with amazing boats, great kit and the fact that the RNLI are pretty forward thinking when it comes to the equipment they supply crews with.
Tom: I love working in a team and this is a big part of being part of the RNLI.
TRUST TAKES YOU FURTHER: WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO HAVE GOALS AND PUSH YOURSELF TO GO FURTHER?
Becky: During a rescue, an unexpected situation might come up and you can sometimes find yourself pushing past a personal limit. When you look back and realise the full extent of what you did and how difficult the situation was, you start to understand how great the challenge was and the overall achievement. I think you always need to keep moving forward and part of that means setting goals to work towards.
Rich: I am quite driven, I really like helping people and learning new skills. Visiting a state of leaving your comfort zone with a situation at hand is addictive. I always want to do a better job than last time. I am also motivated by my children, setting an example for them to hopefully follow, or at least to want to help others and improve their community.
Tom: I would like to think I try and go further every day with most things in life. I think it is really important to set goals and push yourself or you will just stand still.
The RNLI has given me the opportunity to learn new skills that have enabled me to be part of an amazing team that has saved lives.
you have to put a lot of trust into your kit, tools and team – how do you do this?
Becky: We train so often that we are confident in the ability of everyone we volunteer with and the kit and equipment we use. It is only by testing everything in challenging conditions that you can build that confidence.
Rich: I do not find this a problem as I know that we are supplied with the best kit that money can buy. We train together a lot, so we understand our roles and responsibilities really well. At our station, our mechanics work hard to maintain everything to the highest standard.
Tom: The RNLI test trial their boats and equipment, and only use the best that is available to them. No corners are cut, and everything is maintained to a high standard.
FIND OUT MORE ABOUT SUPPORTING THE RNLI
If you want to help fund the amazing work of the RNLI and the heroes like Becky, Rich and Tom, 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