Forging friendships in the RNLI


Being a lifeboat crew member is a major commitment which is not only measured in the time involved with rescues but in detailed training, paperwork and interaction with other lifeboat stations and their crews.

Being part of a close-knit team at your local station extends to being part of the wider close-knit family of the RNLI across its 238 lifeboat stations around the UK, Ireland, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man.

Denis Brophy LOM (Lifeboat Operations Manager) at RNLI Walmer along with his helm, Dan Sinclair, visited RNLI Rye Harbour on Sunday March 17: this is a concrete example of the friendships forged between stations. Tony Edwards, LOM at Rye Harbour, and Denis have been friends for more years than they care to remember. It is so important to share ideas and practices between stations as a different perspective can often assist in a clear path forward.

Denis reflected: “I have known Tony for many, many years and was keen to visit him at his station before he retires at the end of March. His departure after 36 years of dedicated service will be a big loss to the RNLI given the wealth of his knowledge and what he has achieved at the station.”

Proud to have been part of IMRF. Tony Peters (r) and Dan Sinclair

Dan, helm at Walmer, where they also have an Atlantic 85, wanted to visit Rye Harbour for a number of reasons: to meet the crew and to explore the local area as they set out on a training exercise, and to catch up with friends. In 2017 he became part of the International Maritime Rescue Federation’s initiative. The IMRF organises an exchange programme each year for lifeboat crew from several European maritime sea rescue institutions including the RNLI.

The chief goal of this exchange is for volunteers to learn from each other and to share knowledge. They come together for a week and are exposed to different training methods, ideas and cultures. One of the aims is to help develop areas of consistency between lifeboat services and thus prevent loss of life in the world’s waters.

It was a test run and proved so successful that in 2018 Tony Peters, helm from RNLI Rye Harbour, followed in his footsteps. True friendship was forged and lots of ideas were exchanged with common goals shared. It made Dan very proud to be part of the RNLI and its professionalism which is admired around the world.

As Dan left he remarked: “Thank you so much for such a warm welcome from the team down at the Harbour. I really enjoyed going afloat, learning about the local area, how you operate and being part of the team.”

We define family in many different ways; not just by blood but by people with whom we find a common ground and a common goal: saving lives at sea.


Image Credits: kt Bruce .

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