November 7th, 2022.

Newhaven’s Lifeboat Press Officer donned the RNLI’s famous yellows when she joined an acquaintance trip for potential new crew. Roz Ashton experienced first-hand how it feels aboard the Severn class ALB and marvelled at the commitment her colleagues, the volunteer crew, make saving lives at sea.

Nick Gentry, Navigator and currently Newhaven’s longest-serving volunteer crew, says: ‘Our potential new crew-recruit and other non-crew volunteers were able to get a taste of the tougher conditions we’re often more likely to face when the lifeboat is launched on service.’

The David and Elizabeth Acland ALB is not permitted to launch with untrained crew on board in conditions exceeding a force 4. The forecast on Saturday 5 November rolled in just under the limit allowing the planned acquaintance exercise to go ahead.

Roz Ashton, says: ‘Despite the power of the lifeboat, which feels significant, it rocked wildly in the swell when we weren’t moving at speed and for us non-initiated, it took some stamina to find our sea legs.’

The team undertook several man-over-board drills, which provided opportunity for some helming experience.

‘The reality of spotting an object or person through the peaks and troughs of the water, even in reasonable visibility, is demanding work and requires a lot of concentration.’

‘I really appreciated how much the crew all looked out for us. Tips on how to be better positioned for effectiveness or safety. Keeping us hydrated. Chatting and making us feel comfortable and safe on the boat.’

Nick Gentry, says: ‘Being on the crew means being available to respond to the pager. It also means joining regular training exercises and contributing to the overall upkeep of the station, lifeboats and equipment.’

Roz Ashton, says: ‘After an hour and a half of exercise in the bay we returned to Station, but the effort did not end there. As we merrily scrubbed down the lifeboat and kit and refuelled, I thought about my family and in turn the families of the crew and how it’s only possible for those crew to do this essential lifesaving work with the support of their nearest and dearest behind them.’

Newhaven RNLI is currently recruiting new volunteer crew to join its inclusive team.

If you live or work within 8-minutes of Newhaven Lifeboat station and have the flexibility to be on call for lifeboat ‘shouts’ and attend regular training exercises, you can have the satisfaction of giving back, by being part of this dedicated team.

Volunteer lifeboat crew. Fnd out how and apply HERE.

Under the guidance of experienced existing Newhaven duty crew (Lewis Arnold, Nick Gentry, Andy Bull, Jo Goode and Dan Wittenberg, the guests included, a potential new crew recruit and existing Newhaven RNLI volunteers: Jane Masey (Water Safety Officer), Roz Ashton (Lifeboat Press Officer), Alison Cohen (Treasurer) and Roger Cohen MBE (Lifeboat Operations Manager).
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