The crew numbers stand around 25 and include both male and female volunteers, ranging in age from 17 to 55. This group is made up of helm, crew and trainee crew. The Atlantic 85 lifeboat launches with three to four crew members onboard whilst the IB1 (D-class) lifeboat typically launches with three crew members onboard. We require far more than this on the crew as we have to be able to launch any time 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. For this reason we rely on crew from a mix of occupations, particularly if they are shift workers or work local to the station. When the lifeboats are launched the crew will consist of one helm and between two to three crew members depending on which lifeboat is being launched.
Normally the rescue crew on a ‘shout’ will consist of the first crew members in the order they arrive at the station, as long as they fulfil the minimum experience criteria above. If, as may be the case, during a callout, the first crew members through the door are all be qualified helm, normally the first to arrive will then take responsibility to be the helm and the other three will carry out other crew duties onboard such as radio operator, navigator, lookout etc.
Once at sea the helm is responsible for the lifeboat, crew and casualty safety, he or she will liaise with UK Coastguard, search and rescue helicopters, other lifeboats or craft via the lifeboat radio operator. There is no communication between the lifeboat and the station management except in rare cases via UK Coastguard.
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