When a 4,000-tonne cargo ship lost power in 6-metres seas off the Irish coast, it took three lifeboats to save the vessel from being wrecked on the rocky shoreline.
Volunteer crew members aboard Dunmore East’s Trent, Kilmore’s Tamar and Rosslare’s Severn class all-weather lifeboats fought for 12 hours in horrendous conditions, first establishing a tow to prevent a disaster before handing over to a tug and escorting the Lily B and its crew safely back to harbour.
For ‘huge’ read small but nevertheless an excellent job by the lifeboat crews, all of whom are volunteers.
For those not in the know the RNLI (Royal National Lifeboat Institution) is manned by volunteers and funded by charitable contributions, no Government interference other than statutory surveys.
We always used to have one of those lifeboat shaped money boxes on the bar and we gave pretty generously. They must be hurting with the lack of British manned tonnage now
It is interesting that Ireland continue with the RNLI branding to this day, the same organisation looks after UK and Ireland.
Although there is a lack of British manned tonnage, in many places it is actually impossible to become a RNLI volunteer due to high demand, I’ve heard in some popular places you have to be on a waiting list for 15 years or more to become a lifeboat crew member, some places like mentioned in the article below have closed their waiting list because there are so many people.
If you live in a remote part of the UK it is easier to join because there obviously there are less people available to do it. Although they are ‘volunteers’ I think crew members still get paid a reasonable wage when they are called out.
The best way is to get on a crew as a volunteer and get some local knowledge. We’ve had to close the waiting list for volunteers at Tower, but people living in coastal areas will find that their local crews are always looking for volunteers. Once you start as a volunteer on your local station, you have a probationary period before you get on a crew, and then you just train and train. People can stay on the same crew for 20 years.