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

John Mason

Deputy Launching Authority

Dave Lewis

Deputy Launching Authority

Annie Simkin

Deputy Launching Authority

Harry Leslie

Deputy Launching Authority

Nick Edwards

Lifeboat Administration Officer

Will Matthews

Chair

Hugh Robotham

Lifeboat Treasurer

Anne Dines

Lifeboat Medical Advisor

Dr. Will King

Deputy Medical Advisor

Mr. Peter Rutter

Lifeboat Chaplain

Andrew Poppe

Lifeboat Press Officer

George Chastney

Station Mechanic

Paul Brace

Station Mechanic

John McBride

Boathouse Manager

Dave Davies

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

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.

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

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

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

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. 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

Lifeboat Administration Officer

Will Matthews

Joined: 2013

Day Job: Watersports Instructor

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. He also helps George, the Press Officer with video and camera footage and is currently the acting Training Coordinator – organising training throughout the pandemic, both online and “in the flesh”.

By day, Will is a Watersports Instructor, teaching sailing, powerboating, paddlesports as well as VHF radio, which he is qualified to assess. 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! He’s currently waiting to “escape” to his next assignment, wherever that may be.

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!

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.

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.

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 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.

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.

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!

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

Laurie O’Callaghan

Helm & Plant Operator

Neil Archer

Helm & Plant Operator

Jason Hughes

Helm & Plant Operator

Myles Hussey

Helm & Plant Operator

Ady Stothard

Trainee Helm & Plant Operator

Adam Wilson

Trainee Helm & Plant Operator

James Luke

Trainee Helm & Plant Operator

Mat Randall

Crew

Libby Finch

Crew & Plant Operator

Jack Banks

Crew

Will King

Crew

Mark Crook

Crew

Robin Ponikowski

Crew

Lizzy Fitzsimmons

Crew & Plant Operator

Andy Stretton

Crew & Plant Operator

Penny Jeffcoate

Crew

Flic Elliott

Crew & Plant Operator

Jean-Marc Bonello

Crew & Plant Operator

Andy Bond

Helm & Plant Operator

Laurie O’Callaghan

Joined: 2011

Day Job: Deck Officer, Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA)

Helm & Plant Operator

Neil Archer

Joined: 2011

Day Job: Able Seaman, Red Funnel Ferries

Helm & Plant Operator

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!

Helm & Plant Operator

Myles Hussey

Joined: 2017

Day Job: Leakage Engineer

Helm & Plant Operator

Ady Stothard

Joined: 2017

Day Job: Production Manager at Wild Island

Trainee Helm & Plant Operator

Adam Wilson

Joined: 2016

Day Job: Senior Watersports Instructor, UKSA

Trainee Helm & Plant Operator

James Luke

Joined: 2017

Day Job: Master Inventor (Artificial Intelligence), IBM

Trainee Helm & Plant Operator

Mat Randall

Joined: 2019

Day Job: Commercial Skipper

Crew

Libby Finch

Joined: 2017

Day Job: Portfolio Manager, Ellen Macarthur Foundation

Crew & Plant Operator

Jack Banks

Joined: 2019

Day Job: Solicitor, Construction Industry

Crew

Will King

Joined: 2012

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

Crew

Mark Crook

Joined: 2017

Day Job: Aircraft Fitter, GKN Aerospace

Crew

Robin Ponikowski

Joined: 2016

Day Job: Pilot, British Airways

Crew

Lizzy Fitzsimmons

Joined: 2018

Day Job: Owns local sailing school ‘Salty Sailing’

Crew & Plant Operator

Andy Stretton

Joined: 2019

Day Job: Concierge, Fountain Inn

Crew & Plant Operator

Penny Jeffcoate

Joined: 2019

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

Crew

Flic Elliott

Joined: 2019, previously crew at Portsmouth Lifeboat

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

Crew & Plant Operator

Jean-Marc Bonello

Joined: 2020

Day Job: PHD Student

Crew & Plant Operator

Andy Bond

Joined: 2018

Day Job: Estates Surveyor

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

Will Matthews

Shore Crew & Plant Operator

Tony Reeve

Shore Crew & Plant Operator

Chris Adams

Shore Crew

Peter Rutter

Shore Crew

Julie Drew

Shore Crew & Plant Operator

Rob Lee

Shore Crew

Olivier Kuhl

Shore Crew

Louise Laughton

Shore Crew

Sophie Bluestone

Shore Crew

Lizzie Baker

Shore Crew

Paul Baker

Shore Crew

James Ingram

Shore Crew

Dom Roberton

Shore Crew

Juliet Lennon

Shore Crew

Jason Moore

Shore Crew

Katie Lewis

Shore Crew

Jehane Le Grange

Shore Crew

Josh Matthews

Shore Crew

Orry Crews

Shore Crew & Plant Operator

Will Matthews

Joined: 2013

Day Job: Watersports Instructor

Shore Crew & Plant Operator

Tony Reeve

Joined: 2017

Day Job: Team Manager, Miss Isle School of Sip Puff Sailing. https://www.missisle.org.uk/

Shore Crew & Plant Operator

Chris Adams

Joined: 2011, boat crew until August 2020.

Day Job: Globe Maker, Lander and May

Shore Crew

Peter Rutter

Joined: 2019

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

Shore Crew

Julie Drew

Joined: 2019

Day Job: Driving Instructor

Shore Crew & Plant Operator

Rob Lee

Joined: 2019

Day Job:

Shore Crew

Olivier Kuhl

Joined: 2019

Day job: Physiotherapist, St. Mary’s Hospital

Shore Crew

Louise Laughton

Joined: 2019

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

Shore Crew

Sophie Bluestone

Joined: 2020

Day Job: Admin, St. Mary’s Hospital

Shore Crew

Lizzie Baker

Joined: 2020

Day Job: Radiographer

Shore Crew

Paul Baker

Joined: 2020

Day Job: Yacht Builder, Specialist Projects

Shore Crew

James Ingram

Shore Crew

Dom Roberton

Shore Crew

Juliet Lennon

Joined: 2020

Day Job: Project Manager, Ellen Macarthur Foundation

Shore Crew

Jason Moore

Joined: 2020

Day Job: Harbour Patrol, Cowes Harbour Commission

Shore Crew

Katie Lewis

Joined: 2020

Day Job: Watersports Instructor, UKSA

Shore Crew

Jehane Le Grange

Joined: 2020

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

Shore Crew

Josh Matthews

Joined: 2020

Day Job: Technical Services Manager, Island Facility Services

Shore Crew

Orry Crews

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. Think they can help? Get in touch!

Coastal Safety Officer

Tony Reeve

Coastal Safety Advisor

Graham White

Coastal Safety Advisor

Jane Reeve

Coastal Safety Advisor

Roger Guy

Coastal Safety Officer

Tony Reeve

Joined: 2017

Day Job: Team Manager, Miss Isle school of Sip Puff sailing

Coastal Safety Advisor

Graham White

Joined: 2018?

Day Job: Retired Engineer

Coastal Safety Advisor

Jane Reeve

Joined:

Day Job: Solicitor

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