After extensive training, full operational assessments, and many hours of hard work, St Ives RNLI has seen three volunteer crew members pass out.

RNLI volunteers
Volunteers (left to right) Jonathan Harvey, Jack Hill, and Dave Chard. Photographs: St Ives RNLI

Jonathan Harvey has passed out as tractor driver for the SLARS (Shannon launch and recovery system). This piece of kit acts as a portable slipway. Weighing in at 37 tonnes, it can carry the 18-tonne Shannon class lifeboat over all kinds of beach terrain.

The tractor can then drive straight into big surf and safely launch the lifeboat in up to 2.4m of water. And, in the event of breakdown with an incoming tide, the watertight tractor can be completely submerged in depths of up to 9m before being retrieved once the tide has receded.

Jonathan will be adding SLARS tractor driver to his existing volunteer roles of helm for the inshore lifeboat, and crew for the all-weather lifeboat.

Dave Chard has passed out as head launcher. This role is crucial to to the station as its main function is to ensure and oversee the launching of lifeboats safely and efficiently, in response to both emergency call-outs and crew exercises.

In addition, the head launcher oversees all of the shore crew volunteers, as well as ensuring all equipment is performing correctly, and supporting the maintenance and management of assets. Dave will be adding head launcher to his existing volunteer roles of all-weather lifeboat mechanic, navigator, and crew.

Jack Hill has passed out as all-weather lifeboat mechanic. Required on every lifeboat launch and exercise, it’s a pivotal role and requires extensive training.

He is responsible for ensuring that the all-weather lifeboat is fully operational, maintained, and in line with policies and procedures. He will need to manage any mechanical requirements or issues while operationally responding on either emergency call-outs or exercises.

He also has responsibility to ensure the delivery of an effective lifesaving service by ensuring that relevant crew, boats, and equipment are totally compliant.

Jack will be adding mechanic to his existing roles of helm for the inshore lifeboat, and all-weather lifeboat crew.

“Everyone at St Ives RNLI is thrilled and excited — congratulations to all of you,” said a St Ives RNLI spokesperson. “Ultimately, volunteers are the heart of the RNLI and make up the vast majority of our people. They are ordinary people who do extraordinary things, and without them we couldn’t save lives at sea.”