On Friday 26 April, following an assessed sea trial, Tim Dickinson became the station’s latest Helm. This success marked the culmination of hundreds of hours of preparation put in by Tim in addition to his usual duties as a volunteer crew-member. The position of Helm is key in our lifeboat stations: no vessel can launch without one. Preparing for the rôle and responsibility is understandably rigorous and demanding.
Whereas in times gone by Helms would probably have been drawn from the professional fishermen of a local fleet, Tim is typical of today’s recruits in coming from a rather different background. He grew up in Fairlight and after school in Rye moved to London to study graphic design, returning to the town in 2007 and commuting to the capital to work in a magazine publishing house.
‘What first sparked an interest in lifeboats,’ he explains, ‘was the dad of one of my childhood friends, who was crew on a local independent lifeboat.’ Tim had always participated in various water sports and that, allied with the desire to volunteer, led him to RNLI Rye Harbour. ‘Being a helm brings a lot more responsibility,’ he continues, ‘and the learning really starts after you’ve passed out. I look forward to the challenge and I’m very grateful for all the help I’ve had along the way.’
Each additional qualified Helm strengthens the station’s team, as Mark Hall (Lifeboat Operations Manager) makes clear: ‘I’m delighted that Tim has passed out as Helm on my first day as LOM. His new rôle will help ensure that our lifeboat is Search and Rescue capable twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. Thank you to Allen Head, and to all both within our station and in the wider RNLI family who have helped Tim to pass this major milestone.’
Image Credits: Kt Bruce.