Our Team

Cowes Lifeboat Station is run entirely by volunteers from all walks of life. We have doctors, a pilot, office workers and even a globe maker! Our crew are relied upon by sailors and users of the Solent 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

You can read more about our crew by clicking on their image.

Management Team

The Management Team consists of the individuals that “run” the station. The Launch Authorities take it in turns to be “on duty” and they authorise any launches of the lifeboat; the Mechanics make sure the boat is in tip-top condition; the Press Officer makes sure we have good relations with the local media; the Treasurer looks after the cash, and so on.

Lifeboat Operations Manager

Mark Southwell

Deputy Launching Authority

Annie Simkin

Deputy Launching Authority

Dave Lewis

Deputy Launching Authority

Harry Leslie

Deputy Launching Authority

Jason Hughes

Deputy Launching Authority

John Mason

Shore Crew

Steve Dines

Lifeboat Treasurer

Anne Dines

Deputy Medical Advisor

Mr. Peter Rutter

Lifeboat Medical Advisor

Dr. Will King

Training Coordinator

Andy Bond

Lifeboat Admin Officer

Will Matthews

Lifeboat Chaplain

Andrew Poppe

Station Mechanic

Paul Brace

Station Mechanic

John McBride

Boathouse Manager

Dave Davies

Lifeboat Press Officer

George Chastney

Deputy Press Officer

Nick Edwards

Chair

Hugh Robotham

President

David Hembury

Lifeboat Operations Manager

Mark Southwell

Joined: 2008

Day Job: Retired Customs Officer

Mark joined the station in 2008, shortly after operations were transferred to the RNLI. In his time as LOM, Mark has overseen some huge changes, including the move to the current station, a complete overhaul of training and a large number of new volunteers. In his previous life, Mark was an officer for HM Customs and Excise in the very building that Cowes Lifeboat is housed; during his time at Customs, he taught Advanced Powerboat Handling and was part of some major operations including Operation Eyeful; the largest ever cocaine seizure on British shores. You may see Mark around Cowes, walking his dog Maisie, cycling or having a quick dip at Gurnard.

Deputy Launching Authority

Annie Simkin

Joined: 2016

Day Job: Biomedical Scientist, St. Mary’s Hospital

Annie turned up in 2016 and quickly became boat crew. On near-completion of her training programme to become a Helm, Annie unfortunately had to stand down from the boat due to a medical issue. Never fear, she quickly became the Training Coordinator and then a Deputy Launching Authority, authorising the launch of the lifeboat. In her day job, she works as a Biomedical Scientist at St. Mary’s Hospital and is currently spending her spare time training her new kitten!

Deputy Launching Authority

Dave Lewis

Joined: 2011

Day Job: Workboat Skipper at Kingston Marine Services, East Cowes

Technically, Dave joined us in 2011, however he had previously been a Coxswain on the Cowes Independent Lifeboat. In his day job, Dave works for Cowes Harbour Commission, in their yard at Kingston Wharf and also skippering their work barges. In a previous life, Dave has been a Prison Officer and served in the then Territorial Army.

Deputy Launching Authority

Harry Leslie

Joined: 2009

Day Job: Retired Senior Coastguard Officer and British Army Soldier

Harry joined is in 2009 after an extensive career ending as Deputy Chief of HM Coastguard. His Coastguard career started as a Watch Officer in the control rooms and ended up taking him all round the world as a representative of the United Kingdom. Harry previously served in the British Army seeing service in Belfast amongst others, and he also gained his RYA Yachtmaster Instructor qualification, which he used to teach servicemen and women at the Army sailing centre in Kiel.

Deputy Launching Authority

Jason Hughes

Joined: 2013

Day Job: Commercial Property Development

Jason joined us in 2013 after being approached by some of the crew. Already qualified as a Dinghy and Powerboat Instructor, we thought he was the perfect fit. He quickly progressed to become a Lifeboat Helm and is looking forward to becoming a DLA when we can spare him from the boat. Usually, he works in property development, but he’s recently joined the Vaccination Team at the Riverside Centre, administering the COVID-19 vaccines!

Jason retired as a Helm in October 2021 and is now training to be a Deputy Launching Authority.

Deputy Launching Authority

John Mason

Joined: 2016

Day Job: Client Manager for a UK IT communications company

John joined the station in 2016 shortly after moving to the Island from the Midlands. Starting as Shore Crew, he very quickly rose through the ranks to the role of DLA where he is today. In his day job, John works for a UK IT communications company and spends his spare time on the water, walking the dog or at the local gym.

John is also a Trainer/Assessor – he trains up our new Shore Crew.

Shore Crew

Steve Dines

Joined: 2008, previously Cowes Independent Lifeboat

Day Job: Part-time Driver

Lifeboat Treasurer

Anne Dines

Day Job: Finance and Administration, Cowes Harbour Commission

Anne joined is in 2008 to help out with our finances, while her now husband Steve was on the Crew. Turns out she had a tough job in store when we then had to launch a £1million campaign to buy and refurbish the new station! By day Anne works in the office for Cowes Harbour Commission and can often be seen walking along Gurnard Seafront.

Deputy Medical Advisor

Mr. Peter Rutter

Joined: 2019

Day Job: Consultant Surgeon, St. Mary’s Hospital

Peter joined us in 2019, initially as Shore Crew but quickly got accosted into the role of one of our Medical Advisers. Peter is an NHS Consultant, so has been quite busy during the pandemic – most recently he’s been helping in the hospital Vaccination Centre. We’re very proud to have him as part of our team and hope to be able to see more of him soon!

Lifeboat Medical Advisor

Dr. Will King

As if saving lives in office hours wasn’t enough, Will decided he wanted to do it in his spare time, too, so he joined us in 2012 and progressed to Boat Crew. Will later became one of our Medical Advisers – making sure our crew are medically fit and also advising on Casualty Care. When afloat, Will is unsurprisingly one of our best Casualty Carers and other crew regularly comment on his calmness when treating casualties. In his day job, Will is a Consultant Radiologist at both St. Mary’s Hospital and the Royal Bournemouth Hospital.

Training Coordinator

Andy Bond

Joined: 2018

Day Job: Estates Surveyor

As a regular kayaker, Andy joined us as Shore Crew in 2018. Since then, he has progressed through the ranks to become lifeboat crew, becoming fully “passed out” in 2021. He has also become one of the station’s Training Coordinators, helping organise our twice-weekly training sessions. He works for the Isle of Wight Council as an Estates Surveyor by day and likes to spend time with his wife and two children.

Lifeboat Admin Officer

Will Matthews

Joined: 2013

Day Job: Watersports Instructor / Skipper / Deckhand

Will joined the station in 2013, at first unofficially helping with the station’s website. As soon as he turned 17, he became Shore Crew. Sadly a medical exemption meant he couldn’t progress onto the boat, but became a Plant Operator instead and became the Admin Assistant, later becoming the Admin Officer. In 2021, a change of the rules meant he could finally move onto the boat! He also helps George, the Press Officer with video and camera footage and is currently one of the Lifeboat Training Coordinators – organising training throughout the pandemic, both online and “in the flesh”.

By day, Will is a Watersports Instructor, Skipper and Deckhand, teaching sailing, powerboating, paddlesports and VHF, as well as driving and crewing on commercial vessels. He likes to travel and has previously worked in all sorts of jobs, including being a deckhand in the Solent, teaching sailing in the south of France and even helping Santa in Lapland, Finland!

Roles: Administration Officer, Training Coordinator, Crew and Plant Operator

Lifeboat Chaplain

Andrew Poppe

Joined: 2015

Day Job: Vicar of Cowes

After a traumatic event in 2015, Andrew was recruited as our Chaplain, to support our crew and casualties. He is a keen sailor and his day job is “The Vicar of Cowes”, looking after St. Mary’s Church and Holy Trinity Church.

Station Mechanic

Paul Brace

Joined: ye olde days

Day Job: HGV Driver

Paul joined the station in ye olde days of Cowes Independent Lifeboat. Since then, he has served as boat crew, shore crew, on the visits team and now as one of the Station Mechanics. By day, Paul is a HGV Driver for Steve Porter Transport and he also volunteers as an RYA Powerboat Instructor at Gurnard Sailing Club.

Station Mechanic

John McBride

Joined: 2011

Day Job: Terminal Controller, Wightlink Ferries

John came to us in 2011 as Shore Crew, since then, he has helped with the Visits Team and eventually became a station mechanic. In an extensive career that included repairing washing machines and cleaning windows, John now works as a Terminal Controller for Wightlink Ferries, at Ryde Pier and Portsmouth Harbour. John is also an RYA Powerboat Instructor.

Boathouse Manager

Dave Davies

Joined: 2010

Day Job: Retired camera shop manager

Dave used to run stores for the London Camera Exchange – on his retirement, he came to us to volunteer as Shore Crew; since then he has served as the Sea Safety Officer, Plant Operator and now as the Boathouse Manager, making sure the building is in good condition and that we meet all our legal obligations. Dave is also a cracking photographer and has taken most of the crew photos on this page!

Lifeboat Press Officer

George Chastney

Joined: 1812

George joined us in 1812 when he were a lad. He was a part of the independent lifeboat in Cowes and stayed on when the RNLI took over. George is responsible for our press coverage, getting us some cracking headlines in national newspapers, as well as coverage online and on television. George used to work as a journalist, for several establishments, including the Southern Evening Echo. He latterly ended up as Chief Reporter for the Isle of Wight County Press and then Public Affairs Manager for the Isle of Wight Council.

Deputy Press Officer

Nick Edwards

Joined: 2012

Day Job: Professional Photographer: wightseen.co.uk

Nick initially trained as a Marconi Radio Officer, seeing service on ships all round the world. Heading back to shore, he moved into electronics where he carried out major projects with companies including what is now BAE Systems – he is a hive of knowledge and regularly advises on technical matters including VHF radios and our pager network. Nick joined us initially as Shore Crew, then became the Training Coordinator and more recently one of the station’s Deputy Launching Authorities before becoming the Deputy Press Officer in 2021. Nowadays, Nick is a highly-skilled photographer and has captured some fantastic pictures of our lifeboat as well as some amazing photographs of some of the nature on the Isle of Wight. You can see more of Nick’s pictures at www.wightseen.co.uk

Chair

Hugh Robotham

Joined: The Dark Ages. Hugh helped found the then Cowes Independent Lifeboat in 1987

Day Job: Retired, previously at Building Control, Isle of Wight Council

Hugh joined the station in 1987 as one of the first members of the then Cowes Independent Lifeboat. Throughout his time, he has served in several roles including Crew and Coxswain – when the RNLI took over, Hugh became a Deputy Launching Authority, authorising the launch of the lifeboat. He retired on his *cough 70th* birthday and soon after became Chair of the Lifeboat Management Group. He also helps out in the Visits Team.

Hugh used to work in Building Control at the Isle of Wight Council and spend a few years driving the local water taxis part-time. Fun fact – at one point when Hugh was serving with Cowes Independent Lifeboat, he also had his daughter Helen, son James and now son-in-law Dave all serving afloat with him!

President

David Hembury

Joined: Cowes Independent Lifeboat (pre-2008)

Day Job: Retired

Helms and Crew

The Helm is in overall command of the lifeboat, the crew carry out the work asked of them by the Helm.

Helm & Plant Operator

Adam Wilson

Helm & Plant Operator

Ady Stothard

Helm & Plant Operator

James Luke

Helm & Plant Operator

Myles Hussey

Helm & Plant Operator

Neil Archer

Trainee Helm & Plant Operator

Jack Banks

Trainee Helm

Libby Finch

Trainee Helm & Plant Operator

Mat Randall

Crew

Will King

Crew

Robin Ponikowski

Crew & Plant Operator

Andy Bond

Crew & Plant Operator

Andy Stretton

Crew & Plant Operator

Penny Jeffcoate

Crew & Plant Operator

Will Matthews

Crew & Plant Operator

Jean-Marc Bonello

Crew

James Ingram

Crew

Orry Crews

Crew

Josh Matthews

Crew

Sophie Bluestone

Helm & Plant Operator

Adam Wilson

Joined: 2016

Day Job: Senior Watersports Instructor, UKSA

Adam came to us in 2016, having moved down from London for work – as a senior watersports instructor, he had some great skills that he brought with him; he currently holds certificates as an RYA Senior Dinghy Instructor and RYA Powerboat instructor, amongst many others. He did some time as Shore Crew and then lifeboat crew, before being put on the “Helm Plan”. Training hard on Zoom throughout the Coronavirus pandemic, and getting some afloat time outside of lockdowns, Adam successfully “passed out” as a Helm on the 11th May 2021, following a vigorous assessment with an RNLI assessor.

Helm & Plant Operator

Ady Stothard

Joined: 2017

Day Job: Production Manager at Wild Island

Ady joined in 2017, having been a fishing enthusiast for many years. He was quickly selected to train as a Helm and passed out in early 2020, just before the Coronavirus pandemic took hold. A chef for most of his life, Ady now works as the Production Manager for Wild Island, who make delicious natural oils, balsamic vinegars and dressings. When not fishing, he spends his spare time with his two young children, but he’s just bought a small dinghy to learn to sail (we’ll stand by our pagers!).

Helm & Plant Operator

James Luke

Joined: 2017

Day Job: Innovation Director, Roke Technology

James served on the Hartlepool Lifeboat when he was younger, so it seemed fitting that he joined us here at Cowes in 2017! He initially started as Shore Crew and after a while as Lifeboat Crew he wanted to train to become a Helm – he’s recently begun his journey on this, so fingers crossed we’ll be saluting him soon! James has recently started a new job with Roke Technology as their innovation director, but he spent many years working as an engineer and inventor for IBM.

Helm & Plant Operator

Myles Hussey

Joined: 2017

Day Job: Leakage Engineer

Myles joined us in 2017 as a hobby fisherman, he very quickly rose up the ranks and was passed out as a Helm by an RNLI assessor in late 2019. By day he is a plumber and likes to explore the island with his partner and newborn daughter!

Helm & Plant Operator

Neil Archer

Joined: 2011

Day Job: Able Seaman, Red Funnel Ferries

Neil joined us in 2011 when he was working for Cowes Harbour Commission, at the time the lifeboat station was in the same marina, so it was close to work! Since then, Neil has made his way up to Helm, leading the crew on the lifeboat. He now works for Red Funnel Ferries and likes to spend his spare time fishing and camping with his son, Ewan.

Trainee Helm & Plant Operator

Jack Banks

Joined: 2019

Day Job: Solicitor, Construction Industry

Trainee Helm

Libby Finch

Joined: 2017

Day Job: Portfolio Manager, Ellen Macarthur Foundation

Trainee Helm & Plant Operator

Mat Randall

Joined: 2019

Day Job: Commercial Skipper, Rebel Marine

Mat joined us in 2019, having previously served with Ryde Inshore Rescue. He quickly progressed through his boat crew training and has recently joined the Helm Plan. By day, he owns and operates Rebel Marine, offering various trips and charters, you can see more at www.rebelmarine.co.uk!

Crew

Will King

Joined: 2012

Day Job: Consultant Radiologist at St. Mary’s Hospital

Crew

Robin Ponikowski

Joined: 2016

Day Job: Pilot, British Airways

Crew & Plant Operator

Andy Bond

Joined: 2018

Day Job: Estates Surveyor

As a regular kayaker, Andy joined us as Shore Crew in 2018. Since then, he has progressed through the ranks to become lifeboat crew, becoming fully “passed out” in 2021. He has also become one of the station’s Training Coordinators, helping organise our twice-weekly training sessions. He works for the Isle of Wight Council as an Estates Surveyor by day and likes to spend time with his wife and two children.

Crew & Plant Operator

Andy Stretton

Joined: 2019

Day Job: Concierge, Fountain Inn

Andy joined us in 2019 having moved to Cowes for work. He’s previously been in the then Territorial Army where he grew up in the north. By day, he helps run the Fountain Inn with his wife (the boss) and two dogs Maggie and Rosie.

Crew & Plant Operator

Penny Jeffcoate

Joined: 2019

Day Job: Engineer, Sustainable Marine Energy (sustainablemarine.com)

Crew & Plant Operator

Will Matthews

Joined: 2013

Day Job: Watersports Instructor / Skipper / Deckhand

Will joined the station in 2013, at first unofficially helping with the station’s website. As soon as he turned 17, he became Shore Crew. Sadly a medical exemption meant he couldn’t progress onto the boat, but became a Plant Operator instead and became the Admin Assistant, later becoming the Admin Officer. In 2021, a change of the rules meant he could finally move onto the boat! He also helps George, the Press Officer with video and camera footage and is currently one of the Lifeboat Training Coordinators – organising training throughout the pandemic, both online and “in the flesh”.

By day, Will is a Watersports Instructor, Skipper and Deckhand, teaching sailing, powerboating, paddlesports and VHF, as well as driving and crewing on commercial vessels. He likes to travel and has previously worked in all sorts of jobs, including being a deckhand in the Solent, teaching sailing in the south of France and even helping Santa in Lapland, Finland!

Roles: Administration Officer, Training Coordinator, Crew and Plant Operator

Crew & Plant Operator

Jean-Marc Bonello

Joined: 2020

Day Job: PHD Student

Crew

James Ingram

Joined: 2020

Day Job: Marine Welder

James was on the Cowes RNLI until 2012 when he moved out of the area. Moving back to Cowes in 2020, he expressed an interest in rejoining the crew. We were delighted to welcome him back as Shore Crew before moving him onto the boat. He’s a marine welder by day, working for Wight Shipyard in East Cowes and lives with his partner, children and dog. James likes to spend what’s left of his spare time fishing.

Crew

Orry Crews

Joined: 2020

Day Job: Fleet Manager

Orry came to us in late 2020, he had always wanted to join the RNLI but work and family commitments had got in the way. He initially joined us as Shore Crew and in summer 2021 was moved onto the boat. His day job is a Master Mariner – he has previously worked for Red Funnel Ferries, Carisbrooke Shipping and the Carnival Cruise Line but now works as a Fleet Manager in the Superyacht Industry.

Crew

Josh Matthews

Joined: October 2020

Day Job: Technical Services Manager, Island Facility Services

Josh joined us in 2020, having previously been in the Needles Coastguard Rescue Team. By trade, he is an electrician and runs his company Island Facility Services, based in Newport.

Crew

Sophie Bluestone

Joined: January 2020

Day Job: Admin, St. Mary’s Hospital

Shore Crew

The Shore Crew launch and recover the lifeboat, making sure that members of the public, as well as our crew, are kept safe. They also monitor the rescue shoreside and assist with casualty care and casualty vessels as required. We couldn’t launch without our shore crew!

Shore Crew & Plant Operator

Chris Adams

Shore Crew & Plant Operator

Tony Reeve

Shore Crew & Plant Operator

Rob Lee

Shore Crew

Juliet Lennon

Shore Crew

Katie Lewis

Shore Crew

Jason Moore

Shore Crew

Julie Drew

Shore Crew

Louise Laughton

Shore Crew

Dom Roberton

Shore Crew

Paul Baker

Shore Crew

Lizzie Baker

Shore Crew

Oliver Rushworth

Shore Crew

Crys O’Connell

Shore Crew

James Day

Shore Crew

Kayleigh Pullen

Shore Crew

Keith Mitchell

Shore Crew

Matt Glen

Shore Crew

James Findlay

Shore Crew

Jane Reeve

Shore Crew

Jehane Le Grange

Shore Crew & Plant Operator

Chris Adams

Joined: 2011, boat crew until August 2020.

Day Job: Globe Maker, Lander and May

Shore Crew & Plant Operator

Tony Reeve

Joined: 2017

Day Job: Retired Marine Broker.

Tony joined us as Shore Crew in 2017. He has since become a Plant Operator and the station’s Water Safety Officer, running several lifejacket clinics and offering advise to boaters around the Solent. Tony’s also pretty good at DIY and is often found fixing the station’s leaky taps among other things.

Shore Crew & Plant Operator

Rob Lee

Joined: 2019

Day Job:

Shore Crew

Juliet Lennon

Joined: 2020

Day Job: Project Manager, Ellen Macarthur Foundation

Shore Crew

Katie Lewis

Joined: 2020

Day Job: Chief Instructor, UKSA

Katie joined us in 2020, having moved to the island from Barry, Wales. She joined us as Shore Crew and in the Autumn of 2021 progressed to lifeboat crew. By day, she is the Chief Instructor Watersports for UKSA, where many of our crew have worked or trained.

Shore Crew

Jason Moore

Joined: 2020

Day Job: Harbour Patrol, Cowes Harbour Commission

Shore Crew

Julie Drew

Joined: 2019

Day Job: Driving Instructor

Shore Crew

Louise Laughton

Joined: 2019

Day job: Project Manager, St. Mary’s Hospital

Shore Crew

Dom Roberton

Shore Crew

Paul Baker

Joined: 2020

Day Job: Yacht Builder, Specialist Projects

Shore Crew

Lizzie Baker

Joined: 2020

Day Job: Radiographer

Shore Crew

Oliver Rushworth

Joined: September 2021

Day Job:

Shore Crew

Crys O’Connell

Joined: September 2021

Day Job:

Shore Crew

James Day

Joined: September 2021

Day Job: Naval Architect, Wight Shipyard

Shore Crew

Kayleigh Pullen

Joined: September 2021

Day Job: Masters Student / NHS Vaccinator

Shore Crew

Keith Mitchell

Joined: September 2021

Day Job: Retired Estate Agent

Shore Crew

Matt Glen

Joined: September 2021

Day Job: Hairdresser

Shore Crew

James Findlay

Re-Joined: September 2021.

Day Job:

James originally joined us in the days of Cowes Independent Lifeboat. In 2008, when operations were transferred to the RNLI, he became one of the crew. Very nearly becoming a lifeboat Helm, he sadly had to leave us around 2017 due to family and work commitments. He has now rejoined us as Shore Crew and will soon become a Deputy Launching Authority. James has held many jobs throughout his career, which includes working in the Royal Fleet Auxiliary and for HS2.

Shore Crew

Jane Reeve

Joined: August 2021

Day Job: Retired Solicitor

Jane was originally crew on the old Cowes Independent Lifeboat. She was persuaded to join the Coastal Safety Team a few years ago, headed up by husband Tony. In August 2021 she decided she wanted the buzz of carrying a pager again and joined the Shore Crew – she is currently in training to become a Deputy Launching Authority, where she will authorise the launch of the lifeboat on emergency calls. She also serves on the station’s Visits and Education Team.

Shore Crew

Jehane Le Grange

Joined: 2020

Day Job: Junior Doctor, St. Mary’s Hospital

Jehane hails from South Africa, where he was previously a member of their Search and Rescue organisation – he came to us in 2020, wanting to continue his passion after moving to the island. He currently works as a Junior Doctor at St. Mary’s Hospital, so brings us a great set of medical skills.

Coastal Safety Team

The Coastal Safety team are there to give advice to locals and visitors alike, whether that be a quick talk about the tides, a check of your lifejacket or a check of your boat. They also have the responsibility of compiling the annual Community Safety Plan, which you can find here.
Think the team can help? Get in touch!

Water Safety Officer

Tony Reeve

Coastal Safety Advisor

Graham White

Coastal Safety Advisor

Roger Guy

Water Safety Officer

Tony Reeve

Joined: 2017

Day Job: Retired Marine Broker.

Tony joined us as Shore Crew in 2017. He has since become a Plant Operator and the station’s Water Safety Officer, running several lifejacket clinics and offering advise to boaters around the Solent. Tony’s also pretty good at DIY and is often found fixing the station’s leaky taps among other things.

Coastal Safety Advisor

Graham White

Joined: 2018?

Day Job: Retired Engineer

Coastal Safety Advisor

Roger Guy

Joined: 2018

Day Job:

Visits and Education Team

The Visits Team are vital in our lifesaving work – not only do they show visitors around the station, they also go into schools and other groups, delivering the important safety messages, as part of our Respect The Water Campaign.

Barry Myland
Visits Officer

Joined:

Derek Whitewood
Visits Team

Joined:

Hugh Robotham
Visits Team

Joined: ye olde days of Cowes Independent Lifeboat

Jennifer Hastings
Visits Team

Joined: 2014?

Judy Ottoway
Visits Team

Joined: 2015

Julia Mainstone
Visits Team

Joined: 2014

Geoff Brown
Visits Team

Joined:

Lynne Fowler
Visits Team

Joined:

Robin Lenox
Visits Team

Joined: 2018

Louise McHale
Visits Team

Joined: 2018

Karen Melson
Visits Team

Joined:

Kate Jones
Visits Team

Joined: 2018

Terrie Latimer
Visits Team

Joined:

Mike Bull
Visits Team

Joined: 2019

Therese Kaplan
Visits Team

Joined: 2019