Volunteers at Northumberland’s busiest lifeboat station are inviting would-be crew members and fundraisers to join them on Saturday 30 May to learn more about what it takes to be part of their life saving team.

The RNLI is holding a Volunteer Recruitment Day at Blyth lifeboat station in a bid to attract extra volunteers to a range of roles. Operational volunteers are needed to help crew the lifeboat, while there is also a requirement for people to help in the lifeboat station shop and with other fundraising activity.

The RNLI’s lifeboat station in Blyth was the busiest on the Northumberland coast in 2014 with 32 launches for its inshore lifeboat resulting in the rescue of 19 people, but with an expected rise in the number of water and beach users in the area, the station will soon undertake a trial of a second, larger, inshore lifeboat.

The charity is hoping to attract people from all walks of life to crew both the existing lifeboat and the new arrival: volunteer lifeboat crew member Scott Delf stressed that people don’t need to have sea-going experience to get involved with the RNLI – far from it.

He explained: ‘Many years ago, RNLI crew members here at Blyth were mainly fishermen and people who worked in the port. Now, though, with the decline in the fishing industry and a big change in the way people use the sea, our lifeboatmen and women come from all backgrounds. At Blyth, our volunteers include a Pub Landlord, Bus Driver, Sports Centre Manager and a Wind Turbine Technician. – Nationally, only 10 per cent of the RNLI’s new recruits come with professional maritime experience.

Blyth RNLI volunteer lifeboat crew member Scott Delf

Blyth RNLI volunteer lifeboat crew member Scott Delf

‘The RNLI provides fantastic training to turn ordinary people into lifesavers and by volunteering, people will gain some great experience, knowledge and skills. For those who don’t want to get involved at the sharp end, on the lifeboat, there are other support and fundraising opportunities with the RNLI in Blyth.’

To qualify as lifeboat crew, volunteers need to be:

Living or working in or within 10 minutes of the lifeboat station

  • Physically fit
  • Aged 17 and over
  • Not colour blind

Scott added: ‘A lot of people who live in Blyth travel out of the area to work every day, including a number of our existing crew, which means we only have a small pool of volunteers to call on during the day. It would be great to find a few more volunteers who work in Blyth and would be able to leave their jobs to respond to a rescue call’.

RNLI Blyth D Class Inshore Lifeboat. Credit RNLI Blyth

RNLI Blyth D Class Inshore Lifeboat. Credit RNLI Blyth

Members of the lifeboat crew and RNLI fundraising volunteers will be at the lifeboat station on Saturday to talk to prospective volunteers. Also attending will be John Scott, RNLI Lifeboat operations Manager (L.O.M) at Blyth, who said everyone is welcome to come along to find out how they can get involved with the RNLI.

He added: ‘Around 95 per cent of RNLI people are volunteers and they get involved with our charity for many different reasons but I know most of them find the experience an extremely rewarding one. Whoever they are and whatever they do, they will be playing their part in helping to save lives at sea.’

The RNLI Volunteer Recruitment Day is at Blyth Lifeboat Station, Quay Road, Blyth, NE24 3PA on Saturday 30th May from 10am to 3pm. For more information visit BlythLifeboat.co.uk/JoinUs or e-mail steven_fitch@rnli.org.uk