Frequently Asked Questions on joining the Southport Lifeboat Crew
Still not sure if you want to get involved? Below are some of the questions other people asked when they were thinking of joining the Southport Offshore Rescue Trust.
Q. I donít have any experience in going to sea. Will that stop me from being able to join?
A. That is not a problem. In fact only about one in every five of our crew members had any experience before joining and some have gone on to achieve the role of Coxswain. We provide training for all of our crew whether you have had 20 years of sea going experience or are completely new to it.
Q. I Live in Southport but work out of town, Will I still be able to get involved?
A. That is not a problem. We have crew members (including a Coxswain) who work in Liverpool during the day but are still able to get down in the evenings or weekends. Similarly we have HGV drivers on the crew who can be wherever their job takes them. We appreciate that not everyone can be in the area 24/7.
Q. How far is too far away to become crew?
A. There is no cut off to how far away you can live. We have crew members (including Coxswains) who life In Formby, Ormskirk and even Bootle, who work closer to the station. Although they may not get on the Lifeboat on a call out in the evening, there are still important roles for them to play such as manning the lifeboat house, joining a foot search and even helping to get the equipment ready for the next launch.
Q. Do you accept female crew?
A. Of course, we currently have women on the crew and any who wish to join the crew will be given the same opportunities as any men who wish to join.
Q. I want to join but not sure that I will be able to commit every Thursday to training.
A. We appreciate that not everyone can commit every week to training, however it is important for the safety of yourself and others that you keep on top of the training. If you can commit a couple of Thursdays a month then that should not be a problem, however you may struggle to reach the standards to become boat crew if you can only come down once a month.
Q.I am only just 16 and want to join, but Iím not sure if I will fit in with the other crew because of my age.
A. Donít worry! We have crew of all ages from 16 upwards, in fact we currently have two Coxswains who joined when they were just 16 years old. The hardest part of joining the crew is coming down for the first time, once you have done that the rest is easy.
Q. I am over 45 and see that I cannot train to be boat crew. What is the point in me coming?
A. Our insurance only allows boat crew up to the age of 50, therefore it is hard for the charity to spend public donations on training someone who only has a couple of years service on the boat. It does not mean that you cannot go out on the boat, it just means that certain training such as the week long power boating course may be offered to someone younger.
There are still lots of reasons to come down though, we still require tractor drivers, quad riders, people who can help on a foot search, help with maintenance, training, mud rescue etc. All are worthwhile and rewarding jobs.
Q. I want to join but I am not a confident swimmer.
A. We do not require Olympic standard swimmers as out crew are kitted out with dry suits and lifejackets. It is important that you are not frightened of getting in the water as we expect all of our wet crew to be able to climb in and out of the boat on their own, however we donít expect you to be able to swim more than 25m.
Q. What are the fitness standards required to join the crew?
A. Each new recruit must sign a declaration to say that they are fit to join the crew. We expect all of our crew (boat and shore based) to be able to operate all of the equipment safely, that includes being able to climb on and off all of the equipment, and expect our boat crew to be able to pull a casualty from the water as part of a pair and be able to climb into the boat from the water whilst in full operational kit.
Q. I am worried I might get sea sick.
A. You will never know unless you give it a go! Even the best of us get sea sick from time to time, but our crew will be able to help you get over it if you do find you become sea sick whilst on the boat. In the rare case it does become such a problem that you cannot go out on the boat, there are still plenty of other roles you can fulfil such as a quad rider or tractor driver.
Q. I donít have a driving licence, will this hold me back?
A. It is not essential that you hold a driving licence; however you wonít be able to drive the quad bikes or Launch Vehicle (over 21 years old) without one.
Q. Iím not yet 16 but am doing my Duke of Edinburgh award and was wondering if I could come and help towards my service?
A. We have taken people in the past who have helped out and logged the hours towards their Duke of Edinburgh award; however we are only able to accommodate one or two people at a time. The best thing to do is get in touch and we will let you know if we have a space.
Some of the people who have come through us for their Duke of Edinburgh have gone on to do well on the crew, some even reaching the position of Coxswain.
Still not sure? If you have any questions then click here to email a crew member for more information or why not pop down on a Thursday evening from 7pm and have a look around.