We are often asked whether there are any criteria for joining lifeboat crew. Hopefully this page will help answer a number of those questions.
The RNLI does not require any prior sea-going experience, although it obviously helps if you do know one end of a boat from the other. All necessary training is provided through a combination of practical experience, going to sea with the qualified crew during your probation period, and residential training at the RNLI's Lifeboat College in Poole.
Where do you live?
Where you live in Jersey is likely to be a factor in determining both whether you can feasibly play a part as a crew member and, if so, which station is the most appropriate for you. Our crew are on call 24/7 and are expected to be able to get to the station within 10 minutes of a 'shout'. So if you live near Grosnez it would be difficult to meet that response time. However, if you live at Grosnez but work next to one of the stations then you might still be able to help out.
Does your employer give their support?
If you are on duty then you will be expected to drop everything at a moment's notice to respond to a call: clearly your employer needs to be prepared for you to run out of meetings and not be there to answer the phone if there is a shout.
Do you have the support of your family?
Lifeboat crew will all be able to give examples of times when they have left a restaurant before the main course has arrived, run out of a friend's wedding and/or missed a family celebration in response to a page. So it goes without saying that you will need your family's support. Your partner will be left holding the kids, doing the cooking and generally picking up the pieces after you dash off to the lifeboat station - so make sure that he/she is ready for some serious disruption.
Are you prepared to make the commitment?
If you are going to be a crew member, you will need to put some hours in. And it is not just on a Sunday morning for exercises. There is time spent keeping the station in order, keeping the lifeboats ready to respond to a call out and crew meetings for briefings and updates. Update training is on-going, with courses usually being run locally by visiting RNLI trainers, and all crew have to regularly re-qualify across a wide range of competencies. On top of that, you will be expected to come down even if you don't go out on the boat to help recover, clean down and refuel.
And if you are on duty, you will be expected to respond 24/7, whatever the weather.
If you are interested in joining the crew of either St Helier or St Catherine's lifeboat stations, do get in touch using the details in the Contact section. Even if we are not actively looking for new crew members at the moment, you may still be able to help. You should also be aware that from being accepted as a probationer to becoming a full crew member can take between 1-2 years during which time you will be able to go to sea on exercises and receive on-station training. Before you are admitted as a full crew member, you will also attend a 1 week training course at the Lifeboat College in Poole.