Rob Jennings, new trainee RNLI lifeboat crew member juggles shift work to enable him to be both a policeman and team member at Rye Harbour
Rob, who lives in Rye with his wife Josephine, has been a policeman since 2009 and became a lifeboat trainee crew member in October 2018. He was educated at the University of Westminster and studied computer sciences. He loves the sea and all things associated with it and as a youngster wanted to join the Navy but later felt that as a family man it just wouldn’t work. He started his employment in the computer science world after university but soon found that he wanted a varied job that would bring different challenges so he joined the police force. He is now a Neighbourhood Response Officer and will often be the first on scene at an incident.
Just as a police officer is a respected member of the community who performs vital services for its good, so too is a member of the lifeboat crew going out on a shout to save lives at sea. Very similar qualities are required in both roles. Being good with people on all levels is a must for those times when dealing with members of the public who are suffering a loss or who have been involved in a tragic accident. It is important to be both calm and sympathetic at the same time. Good communication skills and the ability to be a team player are also important, helping to create a safe environment in which to work.
In both aspects of Rob’s life he is called upon to solve problems swiftly and this requires mental agility and keeping a clear head in a crisis. The desire to gain new skills, and being naturally curious and eager to learn, has enabled Rob to fit in well at the lifeboat station in the Harbour. He is keen to keep fit and recently ran the Brighton half-marathon. He loves motor-bikes and cycling too. He is a keen kite-surfer and this has taught him the need to respect the water, which is often unpredictable.
Rob was one of seven new recruits to join the station at Rye Harbour in the autumn of 2018. They have had weekly and weekend intensive training sessions to get them boat-ready and some, including Rob, have had the opportunity put these new skills into practice on their first shouts.
Rob’s shift patterns in the force have enabled him often to be free during weekdays which is a bonus because it is a difficult time to cover for many lifeboat stations: more crew members these days work too far from a station to attend a shout when the pagers go off.
Stuart Clark, a fellow trainee commented: “Training with Rob as a ‘newbie’ lifeboat crew member has been a pleasure. He brings a high degree of professionalism to the team. As a police officer he is used to working in high-pressure situations and this gives confidence to those working alongside him.”
Image Credits: kt Bruce.