Who are we? We are a group of like minded volunteers whose aim is to ensure the outstanding surrounding marine areas remain a safe environment for both local water users and visitors.
Our motto is 'In Salutem Omnium' - For the safety of all.
We are a member of the Suffolk Association of Voluntary Organisations (SAVO) and the Suffolk Coastal Resource Network and we operate under the 'Volunteers Charter'. Our Volunteers come from all walks of life, we have seafares, police, UKBA, security officers, shipping managers, arborists, a high class chef and even a grave-digger. They are relatives, friends and neighbours in your community. People volunteer for many reasons, it could be to gain experience for a CV boost, as volunteers are looked on favourably by most employers who recognise their value. Volunteering helps build new skills, perhaps for a career change, it builds confidence and self esteem. It helps you stay healthy in body and mind, and to make new friends. But above all it makes you feel part of the community, and that you have made a difference.
In these difficult times communities are becoming more and more reliant on volunteer groups to fill gaps left in public services. As the Governments 'Big Society Initiative' kicks in, it is time to 'step up to the mark' and use the Kennedy principle of 'Ask not what your country can do for you, rather what can you do for your country'. We are seeing drastic cuts in all emergency services which affect us all and our families, so that more and more is being asked of the UK's volunteer organisations. Volunteering with us will be a challenge and you certainly get out what you put in. 2011 was the 'European Year of the Volunteer' and our volunteers certainly made a marked difference by saving six lives. Marine experience for our volunteers is an advantage but not essential as full training will be given over a two year period. It is however mandatory to be reasonably fit, a confident open-water swimmer, and to pass a Norfolk Constabulary stringent vetting check rather than the usual CRB check.
It is not unusual for a new volunteer to bring a particular skill which can be utilised for our own use. Our volunteers are a group of community spirited people who give their free time for the benefit of others with no financial assistance or reward. Our volunteers are expected to fund their own expenses for their personal equipment and often their mandatory training certification. They give twelve hours or frequently more, each time that they are on patrol, there is no 'knocking off time'. They assist and rescue people, experience traumas, the casualties and their own, and occassionally recover the bodies of those beyond help. Unlike other similar organisations our ,volunteers rarely go for a relaxing pint after their patrol as usually they are to fatigued, in the summer dehydrated, or in the cold weather mildly hypothermic, and are always in dire need of a shower after having spent considerable time in a rubber suit. This is why I suspect that we are only a small group of dedicated people who are prepared to give up their own free time in exchange for these conditions. They are truly incomparable, unrivalled, extremely hard to find and an outstanding example of volunteering at its best. It is service policy not to 'poach' volunteers from other organisations and we prefer our volunteers to be between 18-45, although exceptions may be made to the upper age limit. Our duties can be both physically and mentally demanding and because we deal directly with the public and other partner agencies. Leadership, understanding, immense patience, and total discretion is a requirement.
As with any marine activity there is always the substantial element of risk to safety, even when all the mandatory safety requirements and training are in place. The addition of being rescue facility still further increases the risk, add to this the dimensions of working in cold, darkness, slippery and unstable surfaces, inclement weather, stress and the risks increases two-fold. Could you be a volunteer with us? It can be very demanding yet very rewarding and you will be expected to give a minimum of three weekend days per month if required, one of these on immediate call. You will also need to be flexible in the days that you volunteer for. That is be prepared to change them if circumstances demand i.e. crew sickness or increased workload. In short do anything to keep the boat out on patrol. In a letter to the service from the UK's Chief Coastguard Roderick Johnson we were personally thanked for our dedication and professional service.
If you believe that you could help us to maintain this high standard of service please apply for an Application Form below. Please remember to include you full correspondence address, in order for us to send you out an information pack and application form.