We are currently operating a waiting list for potential recruits – if you are interested, please email cowes@rnli.org.uk and if you are what we’re looking for, we’ll add your details.


Our volunteer crews give up their time and comfort to carry out rescues in difficult and often dangerous conditions.

Imagine for a moment that you’re part of the crew on a lifeboat. It’s 2.30am on a freezing January morning and the pager’s just woken you from a deep sleep in a snug warm bed. You then head out to sea in complete darkness and 5m waves rise and fall around you, ready to swamp you at any moment. Strong gale force winds throw the lifeboat around like a toy. A yacht is sinking off the Bramble Bank.

And you still want to volunteer for this?

To become a lifeboat crew member, you need to:

  • be over 17 (with the permission of your parents) or over 18 years old
  • be under 50 years old (inshore lifeboat)
  • pass a medical and eyesight test
  • be physically fit
  • live and/or work close to a lifeboat station
  • be a team player and be accepted by the rest of the crew
  • enjoy hard physical work

Crew members also need good personal skills. This means you need to:

  • get on well with other people
  • communicate easily – that means talking and listening!
  • obey orders when required to

Being part of a lifeboat crew is a major commitment, which could ultimately include risking your life. Your commitment isn’t only measured in the time spent involved in rescues. Increasingly, new equipment and faster boats mean that regular training programmes also account for much of your spare time. You may also be asked to help show visitors around the station and with local fundraising.

What’s in it for you?

The RNLI provides first class training and equipment, guidance and support – we train at the station and as a crew member, you will have the chance to go to the RNLI College in Poole to practice emergency survival procedures and more. We also have mobile RNLI trainers visit us to deliver Casualty Care courses amongst others. For you it’s an opportunity to achieve and to save lives and a chance to be part of our world class rescue service. We can offer you one of the most exciting and fulfilling voluntary jobs available.

Still interested?
If the thrill of a shout and the teamwork appeal to you, and you think that you have what it takes to be that special kind of person, then email cowes@rnli.org.uk

Not so sure? Have a look at some of our videos, by clicking here. Or drop us an email and we can give you a ring: cowes@rnli.org.uk

Current Vacancies

Lifeboat Crew and Shore Crew

We are not currently recruiting for Shore Crew or Lifeboat Crew.

Visits and Education Team

We are looking for people to join our Visits and Education Team – showing visitors around the station, going into schools and groups as well as holding open days and fundraising events! If you are interested please email Barry Myland, Lifeboat Visits Officer on cowes@rnli.org.uk

Shop Volunteers

We are desperate for volunteers to help run our RNLI Shops in Cowes (High Street) and East Cowes (East Cowes Marina). If you think you could give some time, even if it’s only an hour, please ring our Chairman, Hugh Robotham on 07730 871655