Nineteen year old Max Rimington becomes one of the youngest helms with the RNLI, having just qualified at the Cowes lifeboat station.
“It’s a rare honour for someone at such a young age,” said the institution’s divisional inspector for the east region, Andrew Ashton.
Image: Max and Mark hold a celebratory cake provided by a fellow crew-member at Cowes lifeboat station.
Mark Southwell, the station’s lifeboat operations manager, described the news as ‘brilliant’, adding that Cowes now has three fully qualified helms. “And we are looking to more crew members passing out in the near future.”
But Max, an apprentice with South Boats, East Cowes, had little time to bask in the well-deserved praise; today, a day after his successful assessment, he left the Island to fly out to Australia to help crew a yacht in the gruelling Sydney-Hobart race. While in Australia he will also be meeting up with his parents who are currently working in Melbourne.
When Max joined Cowes lifeboat in 2010, on his 17th birthday – the minimum age for a lifeboat – he was the youngest crew member at any RNLI station. To qualify he had to complete an exacting crew-training programme, including a course at the RNLI’s Poole headquarters.
To become a helm he first needed to be nominated by the station’s operations team, supported by inspectors, all of whom had to be satisfied older-crew members would be happy to take reasonable commands from him.
His subsequent intensive training involved another course at Poole. Then came the final hurdle: a live night-time exercise yesterday evening in the Solent under the close eye of Andrew Ashton.
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