A VOLUNTEER for the RNLI in Fowey has passed out as a qualified helm, after completing his training to take command of the station’s D class inshore lifeboat.

On April 9, Luke ‘Boris’ Watts celebrated his success which now means he can take charge of the Olive Three.

A budding TV star, Boris works for Fowey Harbour and lives within the town – he recently featured in a Saving Lives at Sea episode where he was involved in a lifeboat rescue.

Having joined the station as a volunteer shore crew member over four years ago in December 2020, Boris spends much of his spare time at the lifeboat station and on the lifeboats, training and responding to shouts – since joining Boris has qualified as an all-weather and D class crew member and as a navigator.

Living and working close to the lifeboat station means he is ready to respond 24/7 when the pager goes off.

Boris said: “‘I was nervous before the final assessments but once completed I was very pleased with the outcome. Now looking forward to taking all that I’ve learnt so far and putting it into real life shouts, saving people at sea and keeping the crew and boat safe.”

The RNLI carries out weekly training exercises which focus on teamwork, technical competence and safe operating procedures covering everything from boat-handling, search and rescue, and navigation, to radar training, radio communications and casualty care.

The majority of the training is scenario-based with one of the station’s lifeboat training assessors, allowing crew to work through the processes as a team to ensure the best outcome.

Some of the training can also involve exercises with the Coastguard Rescue Helicopter and training courses at the RNLI lifeboat college in Poole.

Fowey’s D class lifeboat can reach a top speed of 25 knots and endure three hours at sea at that speed when out on a search and rescue mission.

The inshore lifeboat can access areas inaccessible to Fowey’s all-weather lifeboat, such as close to cliffs, rocks and inside caves and it will be Boris’s job to make sure everyone who goes out to sea returns to shore safely.

Fowey coxswain, Jonathan Pritchard, said: “Boris is a very enthusiastic and active member of the Fowey lifeboat crew. He has personally attended 207 afloat training exercises and 54 lifeboat launches, clocking up a total of over 702 volunteer hours during this time.

“If something needs doing at the station he is always one of the first to volunteer to help. Boris has worked very hard to complete his training and I, along with everyone at the station would like to congratulate him on his achievement as a fully passed out D class helm.”