Coffee by Day, Lifesaving by Night


For some, the thought of getting out and going to the gym of an evening can be enough to break a sweat, but imagine that instead of the treadmill and rowing machine you faced the open sea, unpredictable weather and the unknown. This is all part of the day job, well actually, additional day job, for RNLI volunteers. How do we know? Our very own Operations Manager James King gives up his spare time to volunteer for the charity (his is the calm voice you will hear if you ever need technical support with your machine) and here he tells us about his role as a lifeboat crew member.


When did you start volunteering for the RNLI and what prompted you to get involved?

I was looking for an organisation to volunteer for, I'd always been aware of the RNLI growing up, seeing the lifeboats and lifeguards on beaches, but had no idea really what was involved. I sent an email to my local station and was invited to visit, then in November 2013 I officially joined as trainee crew.


How long did your initial training take and what was the most challenging part for you?

Training when I started, took two years on average to pass all the competencies, training 1-2 times a week and spending a week at the college in Poole. It's now expected to take up to 3 years! The most challenging part is not forgetting what we've learnt, whilst learning all the new skills! Part of the reason we train so hard is to prevent skill fade.


What would a typical day in the life of a RNLI volunteer be like?

Anyone can get in to difficulty at sea or around the coast at any time on any day of the year. Families are very understanding with me having to leave at a moment’s notice, missed parties, meals and being woken up in the middle of the night. Thankfully my family are well trained and now unlock and hold all the doors open!


What’s the most rewarding part of the role?

For me the rewarding part is seeing that you've made a difference. I was recently part of the crew that saved the life of a young kayaker a few days before Christmas. It's a feeling like no other.


What else do you like to do to relax in your spare time (or what’s left of it)?

Between Lifeboating and volunteering for our local Ambulance service there isn't much, but I make time for friends and family, exercise and sailing.


What is the Mayday campaign and what will funds be used for?

The Mayday campaign is the RNLI's annual fundraising event across the UK. This May, the charity that saves lives at sea needs to raise £750,000 for new kit for their volunteers. This keeps us warm, dry and safe so we can head out and stay out in the worst weather whilst everyone else runs for cover.


We're helping raise money for the RNLI Mayday campaign to help them buy much needed kit for their brave volunteers, enter our raffle and you could win a coffee capsule machine, biodegradable capsules and a syrup gift set.

Visit our JustGiving page here:


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