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Two crew-members have been cast adrift by the RNLI after a senior female member of staff spotted two novelty mugs at the Whitby Station
I have had the privilege & honour of doing a short stint in the RNLI as a volunteer on one of the busiest coastal RNLI stations in the UK.
Even though I have also served alongside some incredibly brave people during my time in the Armed Forces & Metropolitan Police, the bravery and selflessness displayed by the volunteers who risk their lives to save those in peril on the sea is awe inspiring.
You won’t find many people who are willing, or able, to head out into 15-20ft seas in gale force weather conditions during the dark months of winter, in order to try and save the lives of complete strangers.
It takes a special kind of person to have the courage to do that.
Many people in the emergency services have admiration for their volunteer colleagues in the RNLI, owing to the selfless bravery that is displayed by the brave souls of the Lifeboat Service (not forgetting the independent lifeboat volunteers as well as the RNLI).
As with ALL sections of the emergency services, sometimes an ‘abstract’ or ‘quirky’ sense of humour is required when you have to witness some of the horrific sights which you could come up against whilst serving in the volunteer rescue services.
Ask anyone who spends some time on the sea about how dangerous the sea can be when things really do go wrong, and they will tell you that the conditions can be truly shocking, and that life can be snuffed out in an instant.
Most seafarers & mariners hold Lifeboatmen and women in extremely high regard.
This is indeed why the RNLI receives the £100 million+ that it gets each year in donations: because of the brave men and women on the FRONT LINE – the ones who actually risk their lives!
The training required to qualify is intense and incredibly time-consuming, and can take up to two years to complete.
This means many hours away from loved ones, without even taking into account the amount of time that is spent on actual shouts (emergencies).
So dismissing two crew members, owing to the fact that they had some novelty mugs in their crew room seems to defy common sense.
It would appear that the RNLI have cited ‘safeguarding’ issues which could have come about if children visited the Station in question.
When I did my stint in the RNLI, the crew room was the LAST place that anyone would want to visit, as it mainly had only charts, chairs and tables in the crew room Vs the multi-million pound all-weather Lifeboats.
So to assume that children would be left to wander around a crew room seems to be very misguided – I am not sure whether the senior member of the RNLI who ‘reported’ the mugs has actually ever served ‘on station’.
There is also an assumption that the crew would have left the mugs out on display had there of been a visit by some kids to the station. I am fairly sure that the mugs would have been put in a drawer had some kids of visited the Station.
Surely some discretion would have been more than appropriate in this case? It has already been reported that the crew were willing to get rid of the mugs.
I personally, do not think that the general public realise the small pool of people who are actually up to the challenge of serving on the front line of the RNLI.
The fact that two crew members have been dismissed, and that others have resigned as a sign of solidarity with the dismissed crew members means that people lives could be at risk.
Whitby is a busy station, meaning that the crews can be expected to be called out to help people in distress at any time, day or night.
To potentially put peoples lives at risks, because two crew members had some novelty mugs at the station just seems to stink of political correctness.
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An RNLI spokesman told the BBC: ‘We are aware of speculation about the issue on social media but we want to stress that this was not a trivial matter.’
‘The lifeboat station should be an environment where people can expect to be treated with dignity and respect.
‘We cannot allow bullying, harassment or discrimination in what should be a safe and inclusive environment and there will be serious consequences for anybody who demonstrates this behaviour within the RNLI.
‘Our dedicated volunteers represent the values and principles of our organisation and we will not allow any behaviour that brings the work of the RNLI and our people into disrepute.’
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