14th November 2017
News that Jason Hughes had become a qualified helm of Cowes RNLI lifeboat
was greeted with a resounding cheer at the station’s crew night.
The final hurdle in his elevation from ordinary crew member to lifeboat commander
was a thorough day and night-time examination on the Solent, lasting over two hours,
aboard the station’s Atlantic 85, under the experienced eye of RNLI assessor Tom
Jason, who lives at Gurnard, has been with Cowes lifeboat for over four years. As
well as being a commercial property developer, he also is something of a recreational
sailor. He has an RYA Yachtmaster Offshore qualification, has raced across oceans,
and owns a 36 foot motor-cruiser.
With Jason’s successful assessment, the Cowes lifeboat now has five volunteer
helms on the books, hopefully ensuring that at least one of them will be able to
respond to a pager alert. The RNLI stipulates no lifeboat should be launched without
a qualified helm amongst the crew.
Jason said the response at the station to the news he had become a helm was met
with a loud cheer and hand-shakes. “It was quite overwhelming.”
Station Operations Manager, Mark Southwell, said, “The more helms we have
the more we are able to offer a 24 hour cover and still allow committed
volunteers time for themselves and their families.”