To launch a lifeboat requires team effort and the shore crew plays a vital role in enabling rescue operations to take place.
When Rye Harbour RNLI embarked on a recruitment drive last autumn they hoped to attract a couple of new recruits but were delighted to gain seven, including two shore-crew members, all of whom are proving to be dedicated team players who are keen to tackle the training involved.
Local resident, John Rogers, geologist, science technician and boat owner, joined the team at Rye Harbour in November, bringing with him many skills and thus strengthening the already strong shore crew team.
John was born in London and grew up there. He gained a geology degree at Greenwich University and his PhD from Cork followed later. As geology is essentially an historical science the working methods of a geologist resemble those of an historian. John, true to form, is methodical in his preparation of his own boat and that of Rye Harbour’s station, Hello Herbie II, an Atlantic 85. He loves all things associated with the sea and is a knowledgeable seaman.
John assisted the Cambridge University team with the discovery of dinosaur footprints locally. More than 85 footprints made up of seven different species and including fine detail of skin and scales were uncovered by cliffs between Hastings and Fairlight. They have been described by scientists as the largest and best preserved set from the Cretaceous period ever found in the UK.
As a technician he has gained experience of maintaining and repairing equipment and as a geologist he knows the coastline well. These skills transfer well and his background has enabled John to settle in really quickly to his role as shore crew at the Harbour.
John is a licensed Mudlark. Mudlarking is the urban equivalent of beachcombing (looking on the beach for “treasures” washed up by the sea). There are serious mudlarking enthusiasts who are registered and have all the necessary equipment, and then there are amateur archaeologists and the rest who are intrigued by London’s past being displayed on the foreshore every day. He has had items recorded at the Museum of London.
Sharon Gozna, deputy training co-ordinator has worked alongside him and commented| “John joined us in November last year and fitted in immediately. Not only is he a valuable member of the shore crew, he is always willing to take out his own boat to use as a casualty vessel in our rescue scenarios. He is also training to be a launcher to add to his skills. The lifeboat is not all about the crew on board – it extends to the crew on shore. John is a perfect example of how without them we could not launch and the rescues would not happen. He is definitely a team player with a great sense of humour and a chief supplier of biscuits at the station.”
He has plans to make a land-yacht to use at Jury’s Gap. John is a man of ideas and a great asset to the team.
Image Credits: kt Bruce.