Redcar RNLI’s newest helmsmen

The Redcar RNLI lifeboat station received not one, but two early Christmas presents in the shape of newly qualified helmsmen.

After months of dedicated hard work Cameron Bond has been passed-out as the station’s newest Atlantic 85 helmsman, while Ben Howard, who only joined the RNLI three years ago, has qualified as a helmsman of the smaller IB1 class lifeboat.

Their assessments were comprised of a series of drills and exercises at sea, together with a test of their knowledge of the maritime rules of the road, search patterns and lifeboat operations.

Cameron, who works for a local builder’s merchant, joined the Redcar lifeboat station in 2006 following the closure of the nearby Teesmouth station. He qualified as a helmsman of the smaller IB1 class lifeboat in 2009.

Ben is a ship’s officer on a diver support vessel, joined the RNLI in July 2012, and is now qualified to take command of the IB1 lifeboat.

Ben said: ‘I’ve obviously got a lot of experience in navigating large vessels, but being in charge of a lifeboat is completely different. The crew in the lifeboat, and the people we are going to rescue are very much my responsibility now.’

Cameron said; ‘It’s been a lot of hard work, at the station and in my own time, but it’s been worth it.’

The assessments were carried out by the RNLI divisional operations manager for the area, and came after a full twelve months of theoretical and practical training. Dave Cocks, Lifeboat Operations Manager for Redcar said: ‘The guys have worked hard to earn their stripes. We ask a tremendous lot of our volunteers on a day-to-day basis so they’ve had to put in even more of their own time and effort to get to the standard required by the RNLI.

‘And I’d like to thank the rest of the crew who’ve supported Cam and Ben during the last year. They’ve had a lot of help to get to where they are now.’