2018 sees a reorganisation of the operations team for RNLI Jersey, bringing together experienced volunteers from both of the RNLI Jersey stations. The operations team is responsible for all aspects of the two Jersey lifeboat stations concerning the operational readiness of the boats and the RNLI’s charitable objective of preventing the loss of life at sea.
Heading up the Lifeboat Operations team is Nigel Sweeny, the former Lifeboat Operations Manager (LOM) from St Catherine’s Lifeboat Station. Nigel has over 40 years’ experience with the RNLI, both as crew (22 years, including 14 as senior helm) and in a management capacity. In 1994 Nigel and his crew received the Walter & Elizabeth Groombridge Award for the most meritorious service performed by the crew of a B-class lifeboat. He has been LOM for St Catherine’s lifeboat station since 2000 and was awarded the MBE for his services to maritime safety in 2014. Under the new structure Nigel, as launching authority, is now responsible for operational management of both lifeboat stations which includes recruitment, implementing and communicating directives from RNLI HQ, managing operations and protocols with Coastguard, as well as having oversight of the stations’ finances and social and fund-raising demands.
Nigel will be supported by a team of experienced RNLI volunteers covering a range of roles. Deputy Launch Authorities, also responsible for the decision as to whether to launch the lifeboats taking into consideration weather and sea conditions, crew experience, and operational restrictions, come from both St Helier and St Catherine’s:
Paul Mimmack – retired Assistant Harbour Master, Paul, a Master Mariner, has held a DLA role with St Helier Lifeboat Station for 30 years. He has 50 years’ commercial maritime experience including 20 years as Deck Cadet and Navigating Officer with Harrison Line. He also volunteered for 10 years as Helmsman with the ‘Hamble Rescue’ independent lifeboat. During 26 years at the Harbour Office he was SAR Mission Coordinator (SMC) for over 600 local SAR incidents and regularly represented Jersey at both the UKSAR Committee and AFATG (Anglo French Accident Technical Group) Coastguard meetings. Paul is also a lifeboat training co-ordinator for the station.
Mike Jackson – Mike Jackson has been a DLA at the St.Helier station since 2012 and has operated a local boatyard specialising in marine safety equipment servicing for 30 years. He is a past Commodore of the Royal Channel Islands Yacht Club and has spent over 50 years boating in Jersey waters.
Chris McFadyen – Chris was crew and relief helm on the St Catherine’s inshore lifeboat for 13 years before reaching the mandatory retirement age in 1996. He has been part of the station ever since taking on a variety of roles including training, press officer and DLA, which he has held for the last 10 years.
Michael McNally – Michael joined St Catherine’s crew in 2000 and took on a helm role in 2004 which he held until retired from the crew in 2015. He has been a DLA at St Catherine’s since 2016 and Education Manager since 2013.
Working alongside the Launch Authority and DLAs are three other local roles:
Andy Pryke is responsible for overseeing the training requirements for all existing and new crew. Andy joined the St Catherine’s crew in 2007 and was appointed relief helm in . He continues to crew the inshore lifeboat and has trained up to be crew on the all-weather lifeboat. He has been training manager at St Catherine’s since 2015.
Andrew Eeles is the helms’ representative. Andy joined the St Catherine's lifeboat crew in 1993 and was promoted to helm of the St Catherine’s inshore lifeboat in 1999. He is currently senior helm on the St Catherine’s inshore lifeboat with over 24 years' lifeboating experience.
Helier de Veulle is the Lifeboat Press Officer. Helier joined the St Catherine’s crew in 2007 and has been the St Catherine’s Press Officer since 2009. He continues to crew the inshore lifeboat.
The RNLI Jersey operations team will continue to work closely with the RNLI South Division management team, which provides management and operational support from RNLI HQ, as well as the Island's Search & Rescue services including the Fire & Rescue Service, Jersey Coastguard, Channel Islands Air Search and the RNLI Beach Lifeguards.