RNLI Volunteer jobs(Also known as Lifeboatman, Lifeboat crew member)
A Lifeboat Volunteer crews a Royal National Lifeboat Institution rescue lifeboat, and is responsible for helping with a variety of maritime rescue operations. The Royal National Lifeboat Institution is the charity that saves lives at sea. It operates a fleet of lifeboats around the United Kingdom and Ireland. It was founded in 1824, and since this date it has saved more than 139,000 lives. The fleet of over 330 boats is crewed by around 4660 volunteers, the majority of whom are unpaid. In addition to this, there are 3,000 volunteer shore helpers and station management, and 35,000 voluntary fundraisers. The lifeboat service aims to reach at least 90% of all casualties within 10 nautical miles of lifeboat stations within 30 minutes of launch in all weathers. The charity also has lifeboats on the River Thames and aims to get to 95% of reported casualties within 15 minutes of notification. In addition to this the RNLI has four hovercraft on station, which operate in the intertidal areas of mud banks and sand inaccessible to conventional lifeboats. As well as volunteer lifeboat crew members the RNLI employs over 800 lifeguards and is increasing the number of volunteer lifeguards. This service was introduced in 2001 and currently in 2010 the charity patrols over 150 beaches in the UK during the summer season.
SalaryMost positions within the RNLI are unpaid, and are staffed on a voluntary basis. Lifeboat volunteers must attend call-outs 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and do so out of a desire to help others. There is, however, a range of interesting and prospect-driven employment possibilities within the Institution. Example jobs include boat-building, administrative, secretarial, buying, information technology and fundraising. Some volunteers join the RNLI because they are seeking to progress within the organisation. Most do so because they want to be part of the lifeboat crew itself, and to experience the adrenalin and sense of satisfaction that comes with successful rescue operations.
- Ensure the search and rescue service from the volunteer's local station operates 24 hours a day.
- Conduct search and rescue operations in all weather and seasons, around UK coastline.
- Work with shore helpers to ensure the urgent dispatch of lifeboat from the station.
- Complete emergency repairs of the lifeboat whilst dispatched to a call, or `shout'.
- Administer lifesaving techniques in the rescue of injured persons.
- Assist with the repair of vessels which have become stranded through component failure.
- Assist with the rescue of animals which have become trapped or injured around the coast, and may pose a threat to humans who may try and rescue them.
- Assist with RNLI promotional activities and training exercises.
QualificationsThere are no formal academic barriers to entry to the RNLI. However, due to the dangerous nature of the work, a good level of general fitness is required, and good eyesight is paramount (candidates are subject to a thorough sight test). Training is administered in-house by the charity, and it covers areas such as rescue, resuscitation, towing, anchoring and navigation. Persons joining must be between the ages of 17 and 45 and must live close to a lifeboat station. A probationary period of one year applies to new applicants.
SkillsSkill set requirements vary between positions on the boat.
- The Coxswain takes overall responsibility for the lifeboat. Strong leadership and good decision-making skills are the requisite here, as, after a quick assessment of the type of call, the coxswain can decide which crew members to take to the shout.
- There is also a helmsman of the smaller launch, the in-shore lifeboat. The helmsman must be able to function independently of the all-weather lifeboat, and must often administer first aid in very difficult conditions.
- The mechanic must have a sound understanding of emergency repairs.
- The navigator must be trained in the various on-board GPS systems.
- The communications operator must be trained in the use of radio and digital communications technology.
- General: All crew must be trained on how to talk calmly to any injured persons they have rescued. What can feel like an everyday event to the crew is usually a traumatic and life-altering occurrence for the persons being picked up.