Meet the Crew

Many people within the organisation have more than one role and so appear under different headings.

If you feel that you have specific skills that could be useful to Sidmouth Lifeboat, or you would like to help us in some way, then please contact us by popping in to the boathouse or emailing us at We are always looking for new volunteers for the crew and the support team.

Boat Crew

The boat is crewed by a team of 4 when it puts to sea.  The Helm drives the boat and is in command of all aspects of its operation.  Behind the helm sits the navigator, who assists the helm in reaching the casualty location, and is also responsible for maintaining the often busy radio communications with the Boathouse, Coastguard teams, Helicopter, other Lifeboats, and the casualty.

The remaining 2 crew assist in the rescue as directed by the Helm undertaking a wide range of tasks from swimming ashore to administer emergency First Aid, to anchoring the lifeboat and rigging tows to stricken vessels.

Tractor Drivers

Without a Tractor Driver the lifeboat cannot launch, and so their role is essential.  Prior to launch, the Tractor Driver is a critical part of the launch authorisation process, along with the Launch Authority and the Helm.  Once launch is agreed, the Tractor Driver takes the rig along the seafront and down to the waters edge, where the trailer is reversed into the sea until water depth allows the boat to float and exit the trailer.  During rough weather, the timing and direction of the Tractor Driver’s entry to the sea are critical to achieve a safe launch.

Once the boat is at sea the driver and other shore crew rig the recovery net on the trailer, re-entering the water on the boat’s return to allow it to be driven into the trailer.  It’s then back up the beach and to the boathouse for refueling, extensive wash down and numerous checks ready for the next launch.

Shore Crew

Not all volunteers crew the lifeboat. All lifeboat stations have voluntary shore helpers who help run the lifeboat station and assist with the launch and recovery of the lifeboat. Tasks during a callout include traffic management, clearing the launch site of beach users, refueling, washing down, keeping a radio log and assisting with turning the boat on the turntable.

Some shore crew also undertake important roles which keep the boat ready for sea.  Examples include equipment purchasing, maintenance scheduling, and Deputy Launch Authorities (DLAs) who are the first point of contact for the Coastguard on a shout and, together with the Helm and Tractor Driver, authorise the launch of the lifeboat.