Local man realises his dream to become a lifeboat helmsman

Jospeh Brown is celebrating after passing tough exams and practical tests to qualify as helm on the Rye Harbour Lifeboat

Thursday, 4th July 2019, 12:16 pm
Joseph Brown SUS-190307-115801001

Joseph has lived in Rye Harbour all his life and joined the Royal Navy in 2008.

Earlier this year he was promoted to Leading Seaman, a role that comes with many responsibilities. His father, Steve Brown, senior launcher and recently-qualified tractor driver, has been involved with the RNLI for over thirty years and his mother has volunteered for over forty years.

Fellow-helm Tim Dickinson said: “Joseph joined the crew just over ten years ago. He fitted in from the beginning and showed great enthusiasm for training and keenness to learn. He’s a valued member of the team who always shows professionalism and has a lively sense of humour. His Navy background has given him a wealth of maritime knowledge and experience, which is very beneficial for us at the station. Now we are lucky to have him as a qualified helm and know that he is calm in a crisis and a true team player. Congratulations, Joseph.’

It takes hundreds of hours of committed training and practice to reach the exacting standards needed to become a fully-qualified helm. It also requires a whole team of shore crew and sea-going crew behind you so that the boat can actually launch. Members of the RNLI Rye Harbour station are proud of his well-earned achievement.

At the end of a successful examination on land and sea by Carl Beardmore, RNLI Assessor and Trainer Manager (Marine) for England, Carl said: “During the assessment Joseph was required to demonstrate his knowledge of the role of a Helm, complete a written test on International Regulations for preventing Collisions at Sea, requiring a pass rate of a minimum of 90% and a scenario exercise afloat where his knowledge and skills in command and management were tested. I am delighted to say that Joseph achieved a very good level throughout and I was more than happy to say he has achieved the required level to be an Atlantic 85 helm at Rye Harbour lifeboat station. I know Joseph will be a huge asset to this team, the station and the wider community.’

Joseph said: “The process of getting to the stage where I was ready to pass out has taken seven years of learning, training and gaining experience. Everyone at the station played a part in my journey and I thank them for all their loyal support. To pass out felt amazing and it was one of the hardest things I have had to do in the RNLI and in my normal job in the Royal Navy. It had been a goal of mine to become helm in the RNLI and I have succeeded. I could not be happier.”