Crew Member - Paul Collins

Lifeboat crews are mostly volunteers, who come from all walks of life, and give up their time and comfort to carry out rescues and save lives at sea on the lifeboats. They respond at a moment's notice, no matter where they are or what they are doing when the pager goes off. Crews are regularly called away from their families, their beds and their work, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Name: Paul "QP" Collins
RNLI Role: Crew and Webmaster
Year Joined: 2009
Occupation: Software Consultant
First Shout: It was my first year to go on the lifeboat for Regatta Day - 2009, it was a very hot day. By this time we had been on the lifeboat almost all day in full kit helping support the Regatta as a safety boat. We moored the lifeboat off SCYC and got the tender to take us to the jetty so we could grab a quick bite to eat and drink, before going back out.
We took as much kit off as we could as it was hot, some of the DLA's were already up there eating. So we sat down to join them with our delicious plate of food and was about to tuck in, when a DLA's pager went off. We quickly stood up and started dressing back into kit as the DLA (Ems) gathered more info. I remember running down the steep steps of SCYC trying to fasten my drysuit, lifejacket and helmet all at the same time! Before commandeering a random boat to take us back to our anchored lifeboat.
We quickly recovered the anchor and sped off towards Llanbedrog to reports of a sailing fun boat in difficulties. It had lost it's rudder and was drifting out to sea, after locating the vessel we towed it alongside to Llanbedrog beach.
We never did get to eat that nice meal!
Memorable Shout: MV Swanland - Sunken Cargo Ship. I remember waking up on the Sunday morning, I put on the main news about 9am and started listening about a sunken ship. They then mentioned it was off the North Wales coast, my ears pricked up at this point.
"At approximately 2am on Sunday 27th of November the 81m (266ft) cargo ship "Swanland" put out a mayday call from approximately 10 mile North West of the Lleyn Peninsula. As it had a cracked hull and was sinking due to the extreme weather conditions. Force 8 to 9 gale force winds with enormous seas. The ship was carrying 3000 tonnes of limestone from Llanddulas to Cowes in the Isle of White. 8 Russian crew members were on board. Its believe 5 managed to get there immersion suits on and onto the deck when a "giant" wave washed over the ship and broke her back. Sinking it rapidly."
About 10 minutes later (9:55am) my pager went off! Dashed out and got to the station. The first crew were initially tasked to search for reports of a life-raft washed up on the south west coast of Bardsey Island. The current crew had now been on the water for about 3hours after having searched around Bardsey Island and around to Aberdaron in treacherous conditions. The lifeboat needed to be refueled, so the crew remaining at the station prepared the cans of petrol and it was decided that a change of crew would be sensible in these tiring conditions.
So i kitted up and prepared to go out on the boat. We swapped crew in a sheltered cove near Aberdaron, as soon as I got on the boat we headed out to sea and carried on the search for the 5 missing crew. The seas were very large and mixed up.
It was amazing to be part of such a large search and rescue operation, as there were also 4 helicopters involved in this operation - 2 helicopters from RAF valley, 1 from Ireland and another from RAF Chivenor as well as a spotter plane that was performing search patterns over the large area. So it felt quite reassuring being in these horrendous sea conditions that they were all nearby and whizzing overhead! I'm sure i saw the winchman of a helicopter thinking "I'm glad I'm not down there in a boat"!

It was a memorable experience that's for sure.
Hobbies: Snowboarding, Windsurfing, Cars, Computers, DIY
Likes: Anything to do with the Water, Pizza, Beer.
Dislikes: Monday mornings, hangovers & mushrooms