Making the decision to become a volunteer lifeboat crew member is a huge commitment. On joining, the members agree to run to the call of the pager day or night, 365 days a year, often leaving occasions with friends and family or rising from their beds in the depths of the night. Yet despite these sacrifices many make the RNLI part of their lives and remain volunteer crew for many years. This month two of the crew at Swanage, Colin Marks and Dave Turnbull have received long service awards from the RNLI for 20 years voluntary service.
Colin and Dave joined the crew a month apart with Dave joining in December 1992 and Colin in January 1993. Since then they have been involved in more than 1400 rescue to aid those in trouble at sea.
Colin joined as a volunteer lifeboat crew member on both the inshore and all-weather lifeboats, retiring from the inshore lifeboat in 2003. Colin has become one of the all-weather lifeboat assistant mechanics that are on hand to monitor and maintain the lifeboat whilst at sea. This role also sees him volunteering an extra evening every week to perform maintenance of the lifeboat so that it is always ready to go to sea. In his time as a crew member at Swanage Colin has clocked up more than 1000 hours at sea on rescues with over half of them being during the hours of darkness.
During Dave’s years of voluntary service he has also served on both the inshore and all-weather lifeboats at Swanage. 10 years after joining the lifeboat crew Dave took on the role of fulltime station mechanic in February 2002. Dave therefore commits both his work time and personal time to the RNLI’s service of saving lives at sea. Dave is also currently one of the second Coxswains on the all-weather lifeboat as well as one of the volunteer mechanics. Over the years Dave has been involved in more than 840 rescues, totalling more than 1400 hours at sea with over 800 of those being in darkness.
The awards were presented to Colin and Dave at the Swanage Lifeboat Station to honour their voluntary commitment and dedication to the RNLI. Lifeboat Operations Manager, Captain Neil Hardy commended Colin and Dave on their achievement saying “you cannot put a value on the contributions volunteers such as Colin and Dave have made to the RNLI and the part they have played is rescuing those in trouble around our coastline. Their experience and dedication is testament to the Institution and our community.” Recognising that this level of commitment to the RNLI is not possible without the support of those around you, Cheryl and Angela, the wives of Colin and Dave respectively were presented with a small token of appreciation for their patience and understanding over the many years of service.
Key facts about the RNLI
The Royal National Lifeboat Institution is the charity that saves lives at sea. Our volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service in the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland from 236 lifeboat stations, including four along the River Thames and inland lifeboat stations at Loch Ness, Lough Derg, Enniskillen and Lough Ree. Additionally the RNLI has more than 1,000 lifeguards on over 180 beaches around the UK and operates a specialist flood rescue team, which can respond anywhere across the UK and Ireland when inland flooding puts lives at risk.
The RNLI relies on public donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. As a charity it is separate from, but works alongside, government-controlled and funded coastguard services. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824 our lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved at least 140,000 lives. Volunteers make up 95% of the charity, including 4,600 volunteer lifeboat crew members and 3,000 volunteer shore crew. Additionally, tens of thousands of other dedicated volunteers raise funds and awareness, give safety advice, and help in our museums, shops and offices.