Call for volunteers

Three members of the RNLI lifeboat crew at Arbroath Station. They are, from left - Allan Russell, Neil Swankie and Tommy Yule.
Three members of the RNLI lifeboat crew at Arbroath Station. They are, from left - Allan Russell, Neil Swankie and Tommy Yule.

THEY may be used to responding to other people’s calls for help but now the Arbroath RNLI is sending out its own appeal.

With several crew members set to retire soon, the local station needs committed local people to volunteer to help boost crew numbers once again.

The RNLI is run solely on donations and all crew members are volunteers giving up their spare time to help people who are suffering difficulties out at sea.

The Arbroath station is after people aged 17 to 50, who live in the town and preferably also work locally so they would be able to respond to shouts during the working week if need be.

All training is provided with the crew meeting every Tuesday from 7 p.m. and Saturday morning from 10 a.m.

Allan Russell, the full-time mechanic, says it is important anybody wanting to volunteer recognises the amount of commitment needed to become a crew member.

He said: “For a crew member there is commitment needed of around 80 hours a year from your own time to saving lives at sea.

“The RNLI makes a commitment by investing a lot of money in trainees to make sure they get the right training so it is important they have the same level of commitment in return.

“It is important we keep the number of crew members up to about 25 as the more people we have, the quicker we can respond to shouts which ultimately means the better chance we have of saving people.”

Along with the commitment, the local crew is determined to encourage the right type of people to apply as responding to a call on the lifeboat can be a very dangerous job.

Being able to work as a team is a must along with being able to get on with all crew members and forming a camaraderie as trust in your colleagues and looking out for them is a key part of the job.

Volunteers should also be fairly fit and not suffer from sea sickness. Anybody wanting to apply will also have to go through an interview process.

Crew members will have to respond to shouts both night and day regardless of sea and weather conditions.

But despite the responsibility that crew members must have, coxswain Tommy Yule says it is rewarding volunteering.

He explained: “Being on the crew gives you a sense of achievement of saving lives, as there are many people who wouldn’t be here today if it weren’t for us at the RNLI.

“Also you get to develop skills such as first aid and working in a team which are important skills.”

Anybody interested in volunteering should in the first instance contact Arbroath RNLI on 01241 873235 or email allan_russell@rnli.org.uk.