RNLI launches drive for crew on Hayling Island

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A LIFEBOAT station is opening its doors in the hope of attracting more volunteers.

The RNLI station at Hayling Island needs to recruit boat and shore crew so it can work at maximum capacity.

JOIN US Phill Terry aboard the Atlantic 85, says the RNLI on Hayling Island needs new volunteers to help maintain the service. Inset, the RNLI in action. Picture: Allan Hutchings (123820-821)

JOIN US Phill Terry aboard the Atlantic 85, says the RNLI on Hayling Island needs new volunteers to help maintain the service. Inset, the RNLI in action. Picture: Allan Hutchings (123820-821)

All the crew are volunteers and most hold down day jobs around their life-saving activities.

Father-of-two Phill Terry, 34, has been a boat crew volunteer for the past year. He juggles his full-time sales job with his volunteer work.

He said: ‘It’s so different from most jobs and it really puts things in perspective. When you save someone, it’s such an adrenaline rush. It opens up a lot of experiences that you wouldn’t get anywhere else.’

The boat crew work can be physically demanding as members are often out on rough seas with the vessel travelling at up to 40 knots.

JOIN US The RNLI in action. Picture: Allan Hutchings (123820-784)

JOIN US The RNLI in action. Picture: Allan Hutchings (123820-784)

Mr Terry said: ‘After my first call-out I could hardly walk the next day.’

The boat crew volunteers need to be physically fit, but the station also needs crew to perform jobs on the shore, such as driving the tractor and helping to clean out the lifeboat when it returns.

Kerryn Holland, 40, is a shore crew volunteer. She joined the RNLI when she moved to Hayling Island from London.

‘I wanted to be part of the community. It was quite daunting as a woman on my own to come down here, but I’m so glad I did. They embraced me and now it’s like one big family,’ she said.

Volunteers work on a three weekly rota basis and they train on Wednesday evenings and Sunday mornings.

Colin Parke, 48, has been a volunteer for 12 years. He said: ‘It’s a lot of commitment but I go out there and do my bit.’

Peter Davis, 55, and his wife Jacqui, 54, are both shore crew at the station.

Mr Davis said: ‘I get a good feeling of fulfilment when the boat is called and it goes out. It’s great to be involved and do something worthwhile.’

The RNLI lifeboat station on Hayling Island will be open tomorrow between 10am and midday. Crews will also be holding another open day on Sunday, December 2.

For more information visit haylinglifeboats.org.uk or email hayling-island@rnli.org.uk

What is needed to become a volunteer for the RNLI

TO BECOME boat crew you need to be between 18 and 43, quite fit, and have good eyesight and colour vision. No previous boating experience is required.

To become shore crew you need to be between 18 and 60. Volunteers need to live within a 10-minute drive from the station.

The RNLI also has stations at Eastney and Selsey who need volunteers.

The stations are particularly short of people who are available during the day Monday to Friday.