The most important requirements are that you are at least 18 years old and live or work within 3-4 minutes of the Lifeboat station – most launches occur within 5-6 minutes of being called with team members being alerted by pager. You don’t have to be an expert swimmer, you just have to be able to swim 25 yards.
Days and times that volunteers are on call are flexible and could include office hours if you only work in Teddington, evenings or weekends if you live nearby (or both!).
The frequency of call-outs vary considerably – there could be three or four in a week, then none for several months. The station is the only purely volunteer manned station on the Thames and covers the stretch from Richmond to Molesey Lock.
Richmond Borough is apparently a ‘high-transient’ area meaning that residents move in and out of the town more than the UK average so volunteers are always needed to keep numbers up after changing personal circumstances and location.
Teddington crew out on the water
If you are accepted there will be a series of training courses held at Teddington and Poole, Dorset and by completing these you will obtain an internationally recognised certificate that includes boat handling, use of radios etc. Most companies consider volunteering for the RNLI the same as joining the TA so you probably won’t have to take any personal holiday time to complete this training or be called out.
The crew meet each week on Tuesday for their ‘training nights’ to keep their boat handling and rescue skills up-to-date. In addition to river rescues often caused by strong currents and tides such as this recent one the RNLI are also asked to help police searches of the Thames and are trained in Swift water rescue to help evacuate victims of floods – this was put into practice only a year after training was completed on Thames Ditton island when residents were evacuated.
This station provides a vital lifesaving service on one of the busiest waterways in the UK and this is a great opportunity to become part of this proud tradition by joining one of the life-saving lifeboat station crews that are defined by their selflessness, skill and courage.
If you are interested or have any further questions please find contact details on the Teddington RNLI website.