Joseph Brown, designate Helm at RNLI Rye Harbour, has recently been promoted to Leading Seaman in the Royal Navy. He is based at Portsmouth on HMS Forth. He joined the Navy in October 2008 having had a taste of maritime life in the Sea Cadets at school in Rye. As Leading Seaman his job entails being a supervisor of sea survival equipment and overseeing the launch and recovery of sea boats. He also ensures that the training of the Able Seamen is fulfilled. He briefs the Commander on tactical communication: when a coded message comes in he decodes it and delivers a brief.
Fellow crew member Tim Dickenson has this to say of him: “Joe joined the crew just over 10 years ago. He fitted in straight away and showed great enthusiasm for training and keenness to learn, something that hasn’t faded over time. He’s a valued member of the team who always shows professionalism and has a lively sense of humour. His Navy background has given him a wealth of maritime knowledge and experience which is very beneficial for us at the station.”
So why did Joseph join the RNLI?
“My father, Steve Brown, is a senior launcher and I have grown up with the RNLI in my blood. When I was younger the RNLI had much more of a presence in the Harbour. Many more of the crew were fishermen and lived in the village. Now we have to recruit in Rye so that we can man the boat regularly.”
Did he find that there were transferable skills from Royal Navy to RNLI and vice versa?
“Most importantly, seamanship skills and understanding how to use sea survival equipment safely and effectively. Teamwork, and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations. The core value of the Navy is respect for others and this is vital in the RNLI where as crew we all rely on each other for a safe outcome.”
Joseph’s priorities are to continue with his RNLI training and pass out as Helm. He is a great asset to both the services of which he is a member.
It is important to remind ourselves that these crew members are also in full-time employment, so it becomes quite a struggle to fit in all the training and time on the shouts into a weekly routine. Many birthday parties, hot Sunday lunches and trips out are interrupted as they rush to the lifeboat station. Only one in 10 volunteers joining the RNLI comes from a professional maritime occupation, making training especially important.
Image Credits: kt Bruce , kt Bruce.