TEN years ago, I heard about the Coastguard Rescue Service through the Portsmouth and Southsea Voluntary Lifeguards.
I had been a voluntary lifeguard since I was 15, and as such I had worked alongside the Coastguard, RNLI and other rescue units whilst lifeguarding at the beach.
When a space became available on the Coastguard Rescue Team I immediately put myself forward.
I wanted to build on my knowledge and give something back to the community.
Although we are classed as volunteers, I see my role as a vocation and put the same effort into the role as I do my full-time job.
After five years, the opportunity came for the team to vote for a replacement deputy station officer and I put my name forward.
I felt I was the right person for the job.
Fortunately the team felt the same way and I became Portsmouth’s first female deputy station officer.
I’ve been in that role for five years now and I have seen many improvements, with new equipment and training bringing us in line with other emergency services.
My experience has led me to opportunities outside the Maritime and Coastguard Agency too, such as becoming a first aid trainer and qualifying as a registered paramedic and securing a job with South Central Ambulance Service.
There have been highs and lows, but I can confidently say the role still inspires me and I’m keen to be instrumental in its future development.
For more information on how to volunteer with the Maritime Coastguard Agency in Portsmouth or Hayling Island email firstname.lastname@example.org.