IF you love the coast and you’re passionate about helping your local community, the RNLI wants to hear from you!

The charity is looking for 50 new volunteers to join its Water Safety team – and make a real difference to planning and delivering water safety education in their local places.

The RNLI has always had volunteers at the heart of everything it does and everyone involved is part of one crew that helps to save lives at sea. Steve Instance, Head of Water Safety in the south west, says: “Volunteers make up 95% of our organisation – ordinary people doing extraordinary things. The Water Safety team play a vital role in shaping and delivering water safety education to their local communities, that they know better than anyone. It’s that local knowledge, combined with a variety of experience, skills and expertise, that make this a dynamic and exciting team to be a part of.

“In this recruitment push we want to reach out to anyone that has an interest or passion for the coast, water sports, water safety or education. We want to continue expanding our current team of volunteers and we always champion diversity to help us identify and reach new audiences with a greater impact.”

Tom Bolt is 27 years-old and lives in St Ives. Having come from a competitive swimming and surf-lifesaving background, Tom joined the Water Safety team wanting to make a real difference.

He said: “I decided to join as a volunteer for a number of reasons. I felt like I wanted to give something back to the place and community where I’d enjoyed so much time in and around water. But I also saw it as an opportunity to improve and develop my skills and experience, that I could use for future job opportunities.

“Before I went to my first Water Safety meeting I wasn’t sure what to expect and I thought I might turn up to a room full of people wearing suits and ties. But it wasn’t like that at all, and I found myself in a room with all sorts of people from different backgrounds. There’s no hierarchy of who’s who in the room and it’s amazing as we’re all on the same level putting our heads together to see if we can make the coastline a safer place.

“I think this is just the start for the Water Safety team in the south west, and the only way is up. We want to recruit new people because that means new ideas, and new ideas mean we can come up with creative, original ways to tackle risks.”

Rowena Verity from Dartmouth, who has been a Water Safety volunteer for the past two years, said:

“I have water-based hobbies including sailing and kayaking and have always loved the RNLI’s mission. I have a connection with the water and those using the river and sea and wanted to give back to the local community. As part of the Water Safety team I’ve run life jacket clinics and gone out on foot to give advice to potential water users and coastal walkers.

“I’ve made new friends and contacts in the area I live and am really proud to be part of the RNLI. It’s amazing thinking you may have saved someone’s life with the advice you give out.

‘If you have relevant water-skills and want to be a volunteer that’s great, but no specific experienced is required, just the motivation to be part of the RNLI and helping to educate people. You have the opportunity to contribute to local activities and to the Community Life Saving Plan - you will be making a real difference.’

Tom added: “I’ve gained so much from joining the Water Safety team, I love helping people knowing I’m making a difference. My communication, confidence and people-facing skills have all been crafted as part of this team, which are all transferable skills I can use outside of my volunteering role and in my professional career.

“To anyone thinking about applying you should go for it. We all come from different backgrounds and experience and that’s what generates the best ideas.

“You don’t have to be the best swimmer, or an expert on boats – you just need the desire to make a change. The RNLI was built on volunteers wanting to make a difference, so come and be a part of something great.”

The lifesaving charity rely on their dedicated volunteers who all play a part in saving lives at sea. If you would like to join as a volunteer, but don’t think the Water Safety team is for you, there is always opportunity to get involved in other ways from retail and fundraising to station tours and lifeboat crew.

The current Water Safety roles, as well as other volunteering opportunities with the RNLI, can be found by visiting the website: https://rnli.org/support-us/volunteer/how-you-can-volunteer