DRIFTING alone at sea waiting for rescue could be a nightmare for some – but for Alistair Knowles it’s all part of the job. The 34-year-old crewman navigator of Hoylake RNLI’s Lady of Hilbre is regularly hauled from the briny as part of training sessions for the historic Wirral lifeboat.
With £1.2m, it has now passed the milestone half way point in its bid to raise £2m to fund the already open new station and a brand new lifeboat.
So the Daily Post was granted a chance to go on board and watch the training drills that save lives in all weathers throughout the year.
As the “man overboard” shout goes up, the crew combine precision steering with accurate descriptions of distance – and some muscle – to get their man back on board.
Alistair said: “It’s daunting if you’re not used to it, but it can be quite peaceful out there.
“When the boat comes back for you, it can be quite a sight to see it rising and falling and you think ‘that’s a bit close’.”
Andy Dodd, 2nd coxswain mechanic, now full-time, is the fourth generation of his family to serve the Hoylake community on the lifeboat.
He said: “My great-grandfather died as coxswain and my father served for 16 years as second coxswain and coxswain for a year; he was awarded the MBE for services to the RNLI.
“Hoylake is very much a lifeboat village. When the boat goes out there’s a buzz that goes around, and we know that people are thinking of us.
“Throughout what we do, it’s important to remain calm and work efficiently.
“That resonates throughout the crew and when someone who is being rescued sees that there’s no fear it puts them at their ease.”