Join Lifeboat Crew

We are often asked whether there are any criteria for joining lifeboat crew. Hopefully this page will help answer a number of those questions.

When the pagers go off, lifeboat volunteers drop everything and are regularly called away from their families, their beds and their work, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Only 1 in 10 lifeboat crew members has professional maritime experience - that’s where crew training comes in. Their lifesaving work is essential, often difficult and sometimes dangerous.

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Sea experience

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's 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.

Our crew members need to: 

  • be over 17 years old (with the permission of your parents) or over 18
  • be under 55 years old (inshore lifeboat crew) or 65 (all-weather lifeboat crew)
  • pass a medical and eyesight test
  • be physically fit
  • live and/or work close to a lifeboat station
  • pass a probationary period that usually lasts for 1 year
  • be a team player and be accepted by the rest of the crew
  • enjoy hard physical work
  • get on well with other people
  • communicate easily
  • obey orders when required to


Due to the extreme conditions of going to sea, you are unlikely to be issued with an RNLI medical certificate if:

  • you do not meet the RNLI’s requirements for colour vision/visual acuity (see below)
  • you have had laser eye surgery in the last 3 months
  • you are liable to epileptic seizures or sudden disturbances of the state of consciousness
  • you have had a coronary thrombosis (heart attack) or have undergone heart surgery
  • your blood pressure is significantly raised and not well controlled with drugs
  • you need insulin treatment for diabetes
  • you have had a stroke, or unexplained loss of consciousness
  • you have had a severe head injury with continuing impairment
  • you suffer from Parkinson’s Disease or Multiple Sclerosis
  • you are being treated for mental or nervous problems
  • you have had alcohol or drug dependency problems within the last 3 years
  • you have profound deafness and cannot communicate clearly on the radio/telephone
  • you suffer from double or tunnel vision
  • you have any other condition which would/could cause problems regarding your fitness to navigate/crew a vessel
  • you suffer from any condition of bone or joint that may affect your mobility
  • you suffer from any condition that may affect bone strength or are on oral steroids.

Eyesight test

You are unlikely to meet the RNLI’s requirements for colour vision/visual acuity if:

  • there is any evidence of a colour vision defect as assessed using Ishihara plates*;
  • you are unable to read 6/6 in the better eye and 6/12 in the worst eye on the Snellen Chart from a distance of 6 metres even with glasses or contact lenses;
  • you are unable to read 6/60 with at least one eye without any visual aid;
  • you have defects in your field of vision in either eye;
  • you have evidence of any progressive disease in either eye, or suffer from any other eye condition which could limit vision either now or within the next 5 years.
  • * During the Ishihara plate test, aids for colour vision may not be worn. Up to two plates may be failed and still constitute a pass.

Still interested?!

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 page. Even if we are not actively looking for new crew members at the moment, you may still be able to help.

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