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The Volvo Ocean Race, Volvo Group and Volvo Car Group will today become the Official Automotive Partner of World Sailing, the International Governing Body for the sport.

As part of an ambitious plan, World Sailing will partner with the Volvo Ocean Race, owned by Volvo Group and Volvo Car Group, to develop the next generation of offshore sailors.

"World Sailing is delighted to partner with Volvo as they have been fully committed to developing sailing worldwide for many years,” commented World Sailing President Kim Andersen.

"They are an ambitious, forward thinking partner who match World Sailing's vision and mission for the entire sport. They will be a crucial partner for World Sailing, working with us across all of our titled events, sustainability programmes and will have exclusivity in the automotive sector.

"It is vital that World Sailing continue to aid growth across all aspects of the sport and our partnership with the Volvo Ocean Race allows us to be closely aligned with one of sports major events.”

The partnership is a signal of the Volvo Ocean Race's commitment to the sport and future of offshore sailing.

The next stage of that process will be to set-out a clear pathway for offshore sailors from across the globe. This will include the creation of Volvo Ocean Race Academies, designed to provide a stepping stone for young offshore sailors.

World Sailing has also proposed an offshore showcase event to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) for inclusion in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games and Volvo Ocean Race have pledged their full support for the bid.

"We see the Volvo Ocean Race at the apex of the offshore sailing pyramid,” said Volvo Ocean Race CEO Mark Turner.

"The partnership with World Sailing is important for us to show a long-term commitment to the sport and, equally, World Sailing's support and understanding of the Volvo Ocean Race does,” Turner said.

"But we need to create some steps underneath it like the Volvo Ocean Race Academies and ultimately a closer link to any Olympic offshore showcase event if approved by the IOC. If and when that goes through, the Volvo Ocean Race will be uniquely positioned to provide a path towards the Olympic Games, with a qualification or test event potentially taking place at one of our stopovers.”

Volvo have a long running commitment to sailing and previously worked with the world governing body of the sport, acting as title sponsor of the Youth Sailing World Championships from 1999 to 2010.

Published in World Sailing
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A lifetime of enthusiastic and effective dedication to voluntary work in international sailing administration has very deservedly resulted in the award of World Sailing’s Gold Medal to Ireland’s Helen Mary Wilkes writes W M Nixon.

She is originally from Scotland while her husband Robert is from England. But when they settled in Ireland in 1969, Howth became their home, sailing became their family sport, and both their sons Tom and Rupert sailed – and still sail - for Ireland.

However, the fact that Helen Mary and Robert together provided a brilliant administrative and creative team was quickly recognized locally and nationally, and it was recognition which became international when Howth Yacht Club took on the staging of the Optimist Worlds in 1981.

helen mary wilkes5 1Wall-to-wall Optimist dinghies from dozens of countries at the Worlds in Howth in 1981 – this is how it looks in a double-page spread in the HYC Centenary History, published 1995

That would be a relatively straightforward business with today’s modernized facilities. But Howth in 1981 was in the throes of harbour re-development, yet bits of it still functioned as both a sailing and fishing port.

Thus the staging of the worlds was based on the beachside Claremont Hotel immediately west of the Harbour (it has long since disappeared into a large complex of up-market apartments), and much of the running of this huge event had to be developed from scratch.

But with Helen Mary Wilkes in the key position as Secretary to the Organising Committee and Robert in several other roles, the racing for hundreds of Optimists - in what was then the most international sailing event ever seen in Ireland - was successfully completed. The overall winner was Guido Tavelli of Argentina, while the top girl (and best Irish at 17th overall) was 13-year-old Denise Lyttle of the National YC.

helen mary wilkes5 1Helen Mary Wilkes (centre) with Viggo and Edith Jacobsen, the founders in 1962 of the International Optimist Dinghy Association, at a major regatta in 1990

For most folk in Howth, that was enough involvement in international sailing administration until the new HYC marina and clubhouse were fully functional by 1987. But Helen Mary and Robert Wilkes had been spotted by the powers-that-be as talents that could usefully be deployed on the world stage, and Helen Mary’s subsequent rise through the global and national ranks of sailing administration has been so all-encompassing that it’s best summarized in a basic list:

International Sailing Federation (now World Sailing)

1982 - 1998 International Classes Committee
1990 - 1994 CPOC
1994 - 1998 Events Committee
1994 - 1998 Vice-chair, International Classes Committee (elected)
1998 - 2000 Match Racing Committee
2006 & 2008 Nominated for IOC Women & Sport Award
2008 ISAF President’s Development Award (jointly)
2008-2016 Vice-chair, ISAF Classes Committee

International Optimist Class
1978 - 1982 Secretary, IODA of Ireland
1982 - 1987 President, IODA of Ireland
1982 - 1985 Regatta Committee, IODA
1985- 1989 Vice-President
1989 - 1998 President
During that presidency the Class became the largest in the world:
- national membership rose by 78% to 87 countries
- participation at international events rose by 50% to 57 countries
1998 - 2005 Member of Honour
2005 - President of Honour

Match Racing
In 1996 Helen Mary was asked by Paul Henderson (ISAF President) to promote women’s match-racing towards Olympic status and became the first president of the Women’s International Match-Racing Association. The number of active teams and countries increased by nearly 50%.

Irish Sailing Association
1990 - 1998 Council
1992 - 2000 Olympic Committee/Group

World Sailing
March 2017 Gold Medal awarded to Helen Mary Wilkes by newly-elected World Sailing President Kim Andersen

While Helen Mary Wilkes’ many significant roles have made her the more prominent of this remarkable couple, Robert has been busy behind the scenes, and among other things - in addition to being Secretary for 35 years to the International Optimist Class Association - in 2007 he produced a profusely-illustrated history of the first sixty years of this incredibly successful little boat, with additional input from Clifford McKay Jr, who was the first Opty sailor in Florida way back in 1947.

helen mary wilkes5 1Helen Mary and Robert Wilkes on being inducted into the Irish Sailing Association’s Hall of fame in 2009

Being the sons of such busy and interesting parents made for a special up-bringing for Tom and Rupert. It’s all of a piece that Tom should be involved on the technical side of sailing – he runs a carbon spar-making business in the Netherlands which, in honour of home, he calls Ceilidh Composites. As a result he is a veteran of several Fastnets and Sydney-Hobarts. Rupert has elected to work ashore, but it’s something equally interesting – he restores classic and antique buildings.

However, this week it’s their parents and their enormous contribution to national and international sailing which is deservedly top of the agenda. Our heartiest congratulations to Helen Mary Wilkes on her newly-awarded World Sailing Gold Medal.

helen mary wilkes5 1Gold Medallist. Helen Mary Wilkes today

Published in News Update

Six Irish Sailors, including two from Northern Ireland, will sit on seven World Sailing Committees from 2017 to 2020.

Olympians Cathy MacAleavey from the National Yacht Club on Dublin Bay and Bill O'Hara from Ballyholme Yacht Club on Belfast Lough will sit on the Equipment and Racing Rules committees respectively. O'Hara, Ireland's Finn rep from the Los Angeles 1984 Olympics and Korea '88, also sits on the International Umpires group.

Curly Morris, a GP14 Helmsman, from East Antrim is a Classes Representative on the Equipment Rules Sub–Committee. Former Irish Sailing and Canada Sailing Chief Paddy Boyd sits on the Offshore and Oceanic Committtee. Rio 2016 Race Officer Con Murphy, sits on the Race Management Committee.

Sole Munster rep, Mike O'Connor, the man behind Ireland's staging of the Womens Match Racing World Championship at Royal Cork Yacht Club in 2014 is on the Match Racing Committtee.

Download the appointees below. 

Published in World Sailing
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World Sailing's headquarters will relocate from Southampton to central London, UK in late summer 2017.

The selection of London as the new home for the International Federation comes after an extensive evaluation process of possible locations undertaken since the election of a new President and Board of Directors in November 2016.

The criteria for the evaluation included:
- International city
- Connectivity / ease of access for World Sailing members and stakeholders
- Ability to retain existing staff
- International diversity with a high quality, multilingual employment base

World Sailing evaluated Southampton, Geneva, Lausanne, London, Winchester, Madrid, Barcelona and Valencia.

Southampton, London, Barcelona and Winchester were shortlisted by World Sailing's Board of Directors in December 2016 before today's announcement of London.

An office location in central London is to be identified with a target move date of late summer 2017.

World Sailing has been based in Southampton for the past 20-years but the organisations roots, and its predecessors, the IYRU and ISAF, had been based in London since its formation in 1907

Published in World Sailing
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The first stop of World Sailing's 2017 World Cup Series, the first on the road to Tokyo 2020, sees just one Irish entry from over 450 competitors across the ten Olympic classes from Regatta Park at Coconut Grove, Miami from 24 – 29 January.

Carlow's Finn Lynch will compete in the mens Laser class, a fleet that looks strong with the close training group of Rio 2016 silver medallist Tonci Stipanovic (CRO), 2016 Sailing World Cup Final winner Pavlos Kontides (CYP) and Ireland's youngest Olympic helmsman Lynch not only taking on each other, but fierce competitors like Germany's Philipp Buhl who has won multiple Sailing World Cup titles and 2015 and 2016 Laser world champion, Nick Thompson (GBR).

Also racing is Saskia Tidey, the Irish 49erfx sailor from Rio 2016 who is now sailing for Team GB for Tokyo 2020. The Dun Laoghaire sailor will make her Tema GB debut with Charlotte Dobson on Biscayne Bay.

Miami welcomes back five of the 2016 edition winners as well as 2016 Sailing World Cup Final champions while sailing 'legend' Robert Scheidt changes the One Person Dinghy for the Two Person Skiff.

Published in Olympic

Kim Andersen has been elected as World Sailing President at World Sailing's General Assembly as the 2016 Annual Conference drew to a close in Barcelona, Spain. Anderson's election resulted in the defeat of incumbent President Carlo Croce (ITA).

After a year or more punctuated with issues, widely believed should not have happened, it is no surprise that Croce is gone, unseated mid-way through what should have been an eight-year term. 

The President and seven Vice-Presidents, two of which must be female, were voted for by World Sailing's full Member National Authorities, all of whom are entitled to be represented at the General Assembly.

Joining the World Sailing President on the Board of Directors will be:

Jan Dawson (NZL)
Torben Grael (BRA)
Gary Jobson (USA)
Quanhai Li (CHN)
W Scott Perry (URU)
Ana Sanchez (ESP)
Nadine Stegenwalner (GER)

The Chairman of the Athletes' Commission will join the Board of Directors as a permanent voting member. In addition, the World Sailing Presidents of Honour, His Majesty King Harald V of Norway and His Majesty King Constantine are entitled to attend and participate in Board of Directors meetings but they do not hold a vote.

The new Board of Directors will serve a four-year term up until the General Assembly in November 2020.

Alongside the Election of Officers, the General Assembly confirmed that the ten events and equipment used at the Rio 2016 Olympic Sailing Competition will be proposed to the International Olympic Committee for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. World Sailing Council will now consider the possibility of requesting an 11th Olympic medal and the type of event.

The venues of the 2017 and 2018 Annual Conference were also decided. Mexico will host delegates in 2017 and Sarasota, Florida, USA in 2018.

The General Assembly marked the end of the 2016 Annual Conference. Across nine days of meetings, more than 1,000 delegates have attended a variety of Forums and Committee meetings to discuss, debate and share best practice to take the sport forward into the new year and beyond.

Published in World Sailing
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In an open letter Rob Kothe, Founder of the Sail-World.com network, sets out his views on World Sailing's progress over the past four years and this week's 'other' Presidential election.

Away from the drama, real and imagined which is playing out in the USA, some 900 World Sailing conference registrants are assembled in Barcelona on Spain's north east Med. Coast for the all-important four yearly election, with Presidential and Board Elections at this year's Annual Conference

It is interesting to note that for the last 10 months the host country Spain was without an elected Government, with Mariano Rajoy's conservative party acting in caretaker mode. Interestingly the country has thrived without political decisions, it's the fastest recovering economy in the European Union.

It seemed to many observers that ISAF-World Sailing had a caretaker President during 2012-2016, with Carlo Croce, appearing to be very hands-off style. He and his seven-person executive seeming somewhat disconnected and it is difficult to point to serious progress made across those years.

One of the reasons why World Sailing has appeared like a blancmange over some decades now, has been the submission system which has meant the last two days of annual council has been focused on processing some hundreds and hundreds of MNA requests for changes often moving in opposite directions.

Two years ago, in Palma, Mallorca this scribe saw example after example of as much time being spent on trivial and often quite uninformed Council decision making, as was spent on major decisions which had long term ramifications.

The lack of urgency in finding a replacement for Jerome Pels, followed by five months of Peter Sowrey, who resigned after a rocky time at the 2015 Annual Conference was not a high point for the ISAF leadership group, but then the appointment of Andy Hunt has at least provided some leadership at functional level and the changes made in July may have improved the decision-making processes.

For the last four years, we have continued to hear how World Sailing is poised ready to make a commercial success of the Sailing World Cup and Version Five now ahead of us.

Former President Paul Henderson has been vocal on the matter of the looming crisis with Kite Boarding looking for two Olympic places, at other sailing classes expense while at the same time the International Kite Sports Federation warning World Sailing to stay out of the sport.

So, with many stakeholders unimpressed with the lack of progress over the last four years, Denmark's Kim Andersen has presented a strong bid to replace Carl Croce and could provide a weekend upset. We will look at the possible makeup of the Board later this week.

Interesting times ahead!

Rob Kothe
Founder of the Sail-World.com network

Published in World Sailing
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World Sailing has announced a new strategic positioning for the sport, expressed in a 'new, fresh and modern brand identity'.

A stronger and more contemporary visual identity alongside a new vision and mission puts sport, nature and technology at its core and fully completes the transition from the International Sailing Federation (ISAF) to World Sailing which commenced in November 2015.

The new brand identity has been rolled out across World Sailing's digital properties alongside the release of a short film highlighting sailors, coaches, sailing fans and sports fans reinforcement of the new positioning. Annalise Murphy and other Irish sailors feature in World Sailing's new video to set out the world governing body's new 'strategic position' Click here to view the film.

World Sailing's Vision and Mission:

Vision: A world in which millions more people fall in love with sailing; inspired by the unique relationship between sport, technology and the forces of nature; we all work to protect the waters of the world.

Mission:
To make sailing more exciting and accessible for everyone to participate or watch; and use our reach and influence to create a sustainable future for our sport and the waters of the world:
• To create, and regulate, exciting competition events to showcase the natural power of wind driven water sport;
• To build a strong profile and image for sailing – using our key points of difference to resonate with people and give them a lifetime of sport;
• To create a tangible sustainability programme that maximises the positive effect that the sailing community can have on our environment.

All of this can be encapsulated in a simple message: sport, technology & nature in perfect harmony.

World Sailing CEO Andy Hunt commented, "World Sailing has to adapt and seize opportunities and our new positioning captures both the substance and emotion of why we all have a passion for sailing.

"A more contemporary brand identity for World Sailing represents our new proposition to ensure we stand out in what is a very crowded marketplace and provide us with the flexibility to meet the communication needs of a modern, complex, multi-channel organisation.

"We hope that new brand identity will resonate well with fans, sponsors and the sailing community and captures the collective desire of Sailors to be the guardians of the Ocean.”

At World Sailing's 2016 Annual Conference in Barcelona, Spain the new brand will come to life, enabling the sailing community to explore how to maximise the impact of the new Vision and Mission.

Sailing will be laying down plans for a healthy sustainable future for the sport, as well as the more specific subject of sustainability in the waters of the world. The dialogue and engagement will be centred on an overarching theme of, 'Our Sustainable Future'.

Published in World Sailing
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World Sailing's Annual Conference is the central meeting point where the strategy of sailing is reviewed, discussed and celebrated. For the 2016 Annual Conference, the dialogue and engagement will be centred on an overarching theme of, 'Our Sustainable Future'. Sailing will be laying down plans for a healthy sustainable future for the sport, as well as the more specific subject of sustainability in the waters of the world.

The 2016 Annual Conference, will be held in Barcelona, Spain from 5-13 November; welcoming up to 700 delegates. They will range from International Class Associations representatives, Member National Authorities officials and Committee Members to leading Sailors, Event Organizers, Boat Manufacturers and Observers.

As part of the theme, three new Forums – Sustainability, Commercial Strategy for the Sport and Para World Sailing – have been introduced into the Conference programme. The Forums will feature world leading experts and panel discussions, providing the basis for debate around sustainability across multiple facets of the sport.

The Forums will be open events and will also be streamed live on the World Sailing website, combining social media feeds to enable virtual interaction around the world.

World Sailing CEO Andy Hunt commented, "The introduction of three new forums to World Sailing's Annual Conference is the start of a process to modernise the meeting into a professional, engaging and interactive event.

"Under the overarching theme of Our Sustainable Future, delegates will be able to engage, share best practice, be inspired to make positive change and make our sport more sustainable from a number of dimensions.”

About the Forums:

Forum 1– Monday 7th November, 1430-1830 – Sustainability

Keynotes speakers include: Julia Palle (Sustainability Manager Formula E), Susie Tomson (Sustainability Manager Team BAR), Anne-Cécile Turner (Director Blueshift), Kelli Jerome (CEO Golf Environment Organisation), Jill Savery (CEO at Bristlecone Strategies) and Andy Hunt (CEO World Sailing)

Forum 2 – Tuesday 8th November, 1430-1730 –Para World Sailing

Keynote speakers include: Geoff Holt MBE (Founder Reinstate), Ms. Külli Haav (Noblessner Yachtclub Sailing School, Estonia), Sarah Treseder (CEO RYA), Ms. Emma Hallén (Trim the Sails Foundation, Sweden), and Massimo Dighe (Para World Sailing Manager)

This Forum will include an interactive working session and will be open to all conference attendees.

Forum 3 – Wednesday 9th November, 0930-1330 – Commercial Strategy for the Sport

Keynote speakers include: Mark Turner (CEO Volvo Ocean Race), Jerry Newman (Head of Sports at Facebook), Ulrich Lacher (Lacher Consulting) and Hugh Chambers (CCO World Sailing)

The three Forums will be mixed in with a full schedule of Committee, Sub-committee and Commission meetings over the period of the conference and the recommendations of these groups will go to World Sailing's Council on 11 and 12 November.

Concluding the Annual Conference on Sunday 13 November will be the General Assembly, a four-yearly meeting that will decide the Board of Directors (President and Vice-Presidents) for the next four years.

A full World Sailing 2016 Annual Conference Schedule can be found here

Published in World Sailing
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Irish sailors on the campaign trail for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics will not need to pack bags to compete for World Cup honours in Australia any time soon following a decision by World Sailing not to visit the southern hemisphere as part of its series. Up until now the world–girdling event had a regatta in Melbourne.

Australia Sailing has expressed its disappointment in elements of World Sailing’s new strategy and format for the Sailing World Cup released earlier this week.

The new Series format has no Southern Hemisphere venues scheduled for the next four years, with only the possibility of an opportunity in 2018. The immediate impact is that this year’s Sailing World Cup event in Melbourne will be the last after nine successful years.

Australian Sailing CEO Matt Carroll said, “We support World Sailing’s plan to create a long-term strategy and certainty in the sailing calendar and to build closer ties with the Olympic classes. However, with Melbourne now removed from the Series, World Sailing has effectively snubbed the Southern Hemisphere with their showcase event.”

“World Sailing has been pushing for sailing to be an inclusive global sport, but the exclusion of the Southern Hemisphere as a host venue for the Sailing World Cup would seem to be a backward step”, Matt added.

At the recent Rio Olympic Games, Australia and New Zealand shared the honour of the highest medals per country with four each, and four of the top 10 countries in the medal tally were from the Southern Hemisphere.

Sailing World Cup Melbourne Organising Committee Chairman, Mark Klemens said, “Like many, we were surprised by the announcement that unfortunately no longer includes the Southern Hemisphere in this pinnacle global series. While we have enjoyed working closely with World Sailing to assist in the creation and development of the Sailing World Cup since its inception, we are disappointed that the new series format doesn’t include Australia and in particular Melbourne.

“I particularly wish to thank the State Government of Victoria who have been longstanding and generous supporters of this event and the sport of sailing since 1991, the Melbourne Clubs and other stakeholders. We will deliver an outstanding and memorable Sailing World Cup Final this December and look forward to a new direction for Melbourne and its support of other major sailing events”, Mark added.

Matt Carroll joined Mark in thanking the Victorian Government for their investment in sailing. “There is no doubt that this investment has supported the Australian Sailing Team’s recent success at the Olympic Games in London and Rio.

“While we are disappointed by the decision to move all the of the Sailing World Cup Series to the Northern Hemisphere, we will do all we can to ensure our sailors are given the best chance to compete on a level playing field. Tokyo 2020 is not far away and every opportunity will be utilised to prepare them for the next Olympic Games”, Matt said.

Published in World Sailing
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Royal National Lifeboat Institute (RNLI) in Ireland Information

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) is a charity to save lives at sea in the waters of UK and Ireland. Funded principally by legacies and donations, the RNLI operates a fleet of lifeboats, crewed by volunteers, based at a range of coastal and inland waters stations. Working closely with UK and Ireland Coastguards, RNLI crews are available to launch at short notice to assist people and vessels in difficulties.

RNLI was founded in 1824 and is based in Poole, Dorset. The organisation raised €210m in funds in 2019, spending €200m on lifesaving activities and water safety education. RNLI also provides a beach lifeguard service in the UK and has recently developed an International drowning prevention strategy, partnering with other organisations and governments to make drowning prevention a global priority.

Irish Lifeboat Stations

There are 46 lifeboat stations on the island of Ireland, with an operational base in Swords, Co Dublin. Irish RNLI crews are tasked through a paging system instigated by the Irish Coast Guard which can task a range of rescue resources depending on the nature of the emergency.

Famous Irish Lifeboat Rescues

Irish Lifeboats have participated in many rescues, perhaps the most famous of which was the rescue of the crew of the Daunt Rock lightship off Cork Harbour by the Ballycotton lifeboat in 1936. Spending almost 50 hours at sea, the lifeboat stood by the drifting lightship until the proximity to the Daunt Rock forced the coxswain to get alongside and successfully rescue the lightship's crew.

32 Irish lifeboat crew have been lost in rescue missions, including the 15 crew of the Kingstown (now Dun Laoghaire) lifeboat which capsized while attempting to rescue the crew of the SS Palme on Christmas Eve 1895.

FAQs

While the number of callouts to lifeboat stations varies from year to year, Howth Lifeboat station has aggregated more 'shouts' in recent years than other stations, averaging just over 60 a year.

Stations with an offshore lifeboat have a full-time mechanic, while some have a full-time coxswain. However, most lifeboat crews are volunteers.

There are 46 lifeboat stations on the island of Ireland

32 Irish lifeboat crew have been lost in rescue missions, including the 15 crew of the Kingstown (now Dun Laoghaire) lifeboat which capsized while attempting to rescue the crew of the SS Palme on Christmas Eve 1895

In 2019, 8,941 lifeboat launches saved 342 lives across the RNLI fleet.

The Irish fleet is a mixture of inshore and all-weather (offshore) craft. The offshore lifeboats, which range from 17m to 12m in length are either moored afloat, launched down a slipway or are towed into the sea on a trailer and launched. The inshore boats are either rigid or non-rigid inflatables.

The Irish Coast Guard in the Republic of Ireland or the UK Coastguard in Northern Ireland task lifeboats when an emergency call is received, through any of the recognised systems. These include 999/112 phone calls, Mayday/PanPan calls on VHF, a signal from an emergency position indicating radio beacon (EPIRB) or distress signals.

The Irish Coast Guard is the government agency responsible for the response to, and co-ordination of, maritime accidents which require search and rescue operations. To carry out their task the Coast Guard calls on their own resources – Coast Guard units manned by volunteers and contracted helicopters, as well as "declared resources" - RNLI lifeboats and crews. While lifeboats conduct the operation, the coordination is provided by the Coast Guard.

A lifeboat coxswain (pronounced cox'n) is the skipper or master of the lifeboat.

RNLI Lifeboat crews are required to follow a particular development plan that covers a pre-agreed range of skills necessary to complete particular tasks. These skills and tasks form part of the competence-based training that is delivered both locally and at the RNLI's Lifeboat College in Poole, Dorset

 

While the RNLI is dependent on donations and legacies for funding, they also need volunteer crew and fund-raisers.

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