Paul Watts has been a volunteer with St John since 2013. His role is an Inshore Rescue Boat helm.
Paul says: “Inshore Rescue Boats are manned by a crew of three with the helm taking ultimate responsibility, although we work as a team to deliver the best search and rescue asset.
Volunteering with the Inshore Rescue Boat is great fun; we have developed a great team that work well together. The training requires commitment to ensure that the competencies that are required are maintained. The crew’s team spirit means that training sessions are always enjoyable and no matter what the conditions or how hard it is there’s always enjoyment and a light side, even if it is only at the end when we put the boat away and can have a cup of tea!
We also share the fact that we know we are giving something back to the community in which we live.
My favourite story would have to be from this June, the day after the Guernsey Press reported that the IRBs were back on call.
No sooner had I sat down to dinner my pager went off. We were called into St John Ambulance station to launch the Inshore Rescue Boat to help a group of teenagers who had been cut off by the tide at Grand Rocques. There was quite a big swell at the time, but because they were clear of the water, it was agreed that the risks of trying to get our crew onto the rocks and to recover the teenagers were too great. Instead together with Guernsey Coastguard, we agreed the safest thing was to wait until the tide went down enabling the teenagers to walk, under guided floodlighting, back to the shore.
This was a hard decision to make but evaluating risk rather than acting on impulse is what we are trained to do.”