News that Jason Hughes had become a qualified helm of Cowes RNLI lifeboat was greeted with a resounding cheer at the station’s crew night.
The final hurdle in his elevation from ordinary crew member to lifeboat commander was a thorough day and night-time examination on the Solent, lasting over 2 hours, aboard the station’s Atlantic 85 lifeboat with the experienced eye of RNLI assessor Tom Pedersen.
Jason, who lives at Gurnard, has been with Cowes lifeboat for over 4 years. As well as being a commercial property developer, he also is something of a recreational sailor. He has an RYA Yachtmaster Offshore qualification, has raced across oceans, and owns a 36ft motor-cruiser.
With Jason’s successful assessment, the Cowes Lifeboat now has 5 volunteer helms on the books, hopefully ensuring that at least one of them will be able to respond to a pager alert. The RNLI stipulates no lifeboat should be launched without a qualified helm amongst the crew.
Station Operations Manager, Mark Southwell, says:
“The more helms we have the more we are able to offer a 24 hour cover and still allow committed volunteers time for themselves and their families.”