Could you help us?
- Do you live or work in the Crosshaven area?
- Are you committed?
- Are you a fast learner?
- Do you love a challenge?
- Can you confront your fears calmly?
- Are you a team player?
- Would you give up your evening meal, or a good night’s sleep at a seconds notice to spend a few hours in a freezing gale and big seas, looking for a boat that was never missing in the first place?
If you can answer yes to these questions, then perhaps you would like to join the volunteer crew of Crosshaven lifeboat and help to make a difference to someone else’s life.
YOU DO NOT NEED TO:
- Have any nautical knowledge
- Have been on a boat before
- Be male
- Be a good swimmer
- Know first aid
- Be a member of the RNLI
- Know any existing crew members
As existing crew get old (yes!) and people move on to different things in life, we are in need of more volunteers for all roles at Crosshaven Lifeboat Station. Our lifeboat is one of the busiest in Ireland. No surprise when you consider that it serves the world’s second largest natural harbour as well as the coast from Power Head to Nohoval Cove. We average 45 callouts every year, and here are some of the types of casualties we deal with:
- Broken down, sinking or sunken boats
- Boats on fire
- Missing divers
- Injured cliff walkers and sailors
- People cut off by the tide
- People in the water
- Missing persons searches
- Wind surfers, surfers and canoeists
Our callouts take place in all weathers from flat calm sunny days, to blizzards and big seas, at all hours of the day and night. To maintain this level of service, we need people to crew the boat as well as to assist with launching and other station duties. You must be over 17 to join, and if you wish to join the boat crew you must be under 44 and have reasonable eyesight (especially no colour blindness) and fitness.
Still have questions? Then feel free to ask any of our crew or read on below.
Do I get paid?
No. The RNLI has run since 1824 on the principle of volunteering. Stations with bigger boats, such as Courtmacsherry & Ballycotton, have a full-time mechanic and Coxwain to look after the boat. We have a part-time mechanic who is only paid for a few hours work a week to ensure the lifeboat is properly maintained. We do get a small contribution towards expenses for each callout, but that is not why we joined.
I’m not sure about being on the crew but I would still like to help?
That’s fine – every time the boat launches with three crew on board there is probably another five people at the station to help the launch, man the radio, make soup for the cold, weary crew on their return, and prepare the boat for the next service. Come and talk to us about helping out in other ways.
Do I need to buy my own gear?
No, The RNLI provides you with the very best in Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). Safety is of the utmost importance to us as we are the rescuers, not the rescued! You will wear an all-over thermal body suit, a drysuit that keeps you dry from neck to toe, a hard wearing and very buoyant lifejacket, a helmet with visor and gloves. The only thing that is optional out of all that are your gloves! This equipment is worn from summer through to winter, as it can get very cold out at sea, particularly at night.
But what about training – I have very little experience?
We will provide all the training needed, both locally and at the Lifeboat College in Poole, to help you become a competent station member. All our crew are constantly training – even the most experienced.
Do I need to be on call at certain times?
At Crosshaven, we do not operate an “on-call” rota except at certain times, such as large events, bank holidays, etc. We do ask that you let us know when you are away for an extended period of time, such as weekend breaks, holidays, etc.
How I know there’s a “shout”?
Boat & shore crew carry a small pager on their belt at all times. This is activated (see our “Launch” page) when the lifeboat is required and may have some details about the shout. When the pager goes off, crew immediately make their way to the station (keeping to the speed limits & safe driving). We also use maroons if the pager system fails to operate.
What level of commitment is required?
The lifeboat is like most other things in life – the more you put in, the more you get back. However, we do have minimum standards to ensure the safety of our crew. You will be required to go training on the boat at least once a month (2-3 hours), attend the monthly crew meetings (currently 2 hours on the second Wednesday of each month), assist with station & boat maintenance and, of course, respond to callouts.
It all sounds very serious?
Not really, actually. The crew meetings are good fun, as is the training. We also have several social functions, including our annual Christmas party where we make presentations to any retiring crewmembers but also present our “Toilet Seat” award along with other humorous presentations.
What about my family?
Being involved in the lifeboat is a family commitment. The pager will always go off at the wrong time – when the dinner is on the table, you are just about to cut the grass, or in the middle of the night. Of course, your family is as welcome in the station as you are, and it helps them to feel involved if they do come down from time to time. We don’t bite, and we even have biscuits, sweets and juice for them if they need it!
OK, I’m interested. Where do I sign!?
Contact Patsy Fegan on 087-8126963. You will then have an interview, where some of the crew can get to know you, and you can get to know more about the role. You will then fill in a form, asking basic questions (name, age, address, day job and so on). We normally bring crew in as shorecrew, so they get a feel for the station. After a period of time, if you haven’t been put off, you can progress to boat crew. You must go for a medical check-up with our Lifeboat Medical Advisor. Don’t let that put you off though, it’s not a full internal examination or anything! We just want to make sure you are fit and healthy, as much for your own sake as ours. If you pass the medical and eyesight tests then you are put “on probation” for a year.
What does probation mean?
Your year’s probation is a period in which we train you up to become a fully fledged lifeboat crew. We will assume no knowledge purely because despite having 20 years of sailing experience, you may not have dealt with some of the equipment/procedures on the lifeboat. To help you through this, we will allocate you a “mentor” helm who is directly responsible for your training. Your progress during this first year is monitored, and if you show progress, but most importantly enthusiasm and dedication, then you will become a full crewmember. Training is a constant thing after that, so don’t get complacent!