2018 saw 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 MBE, 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 and was awarded the MBE for his services to maritime safety in 2014. He has been LOM for St Catherine’s lifeboat station since 2000 and, extending his role from St Catherine’s, is now responsible for operational management of both lifeboat stations. He is responsible for all operational aspects of both stations, including authorising launches, 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 is supported by a team of experienced RNLI volunteers covering a range of roles. Deputy Launching Authorities (DLAs), 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 Harbourmaster, Paul, a Master Mariner, has held a DLA role with St Helier & St Catherine Lifeboat Stations for 30 years. He has 50 years commercial maritime experience including 20 years as Deck and Navigating Officer with Harrison Line and during that time 10 years as Helmsman with the ‘Hamble Rescue’ independent IRB. Working at the Harbour Office 1988-2014, 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.
Peter Lawrence – Peter went to sea in 1972 obtaining his Master’s certificate in 1987, he joined Condor as Master in 1988. Two years’ later, Peter was invited to join the Company of Town Pilots. Peter has been a Jersey pilot since then (28 years), becoming Master Pilot in 2005. During this time Peter also served as Assistant Harbourmaster for 19 years retiring from this role in February 2018. Following his retirement, Peter continues to provide relief pilotage duties and Jersey pilotage training to masters of vessels operating into Jersey. Having previously held the role of Deputy Launching Authority (DLA) for the RNLI from 1999-2010, he has once again joined the RNLI as DLA for St Helier.
Chris McFadyen – Chris Joined the RNLI in 1983 and served as crew and then relief helm on the St Catherine’s inshore lifeboat for 13 years before reaching the mandatory retirement age. He has been part of the station ever since taking on a variety of roles including training, press officer and Deputy Launching Authority, which he has held since 2008.
Michael McNally – Michael joined St Catherine’s crew in 2000 and took on a helm role in 2004 which he held until he had to retire on medical grounds in 2015. He has been a DLA at St Catherine’s since 2016 and Lifeboat Education Officer since 2013.
Working alongside the LOM 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 2013. 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 – as the helms’ representative. Andy joined the RNLI 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.
Helier de Veulle - Helier is the Lifeboat Press Officer for RNLI Jersey. 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. The new team is relishing the challenges that 2018 will bring and is committed to continuing the RNLI’s mission in Jersey with the aim of educating, influencing, supervising and rescuing those at risk from drowning.