For Sean Lowe entered the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) on his 17th birthday and proudly wears his pager to the classroom.
And when a shout comes in then 17-year-old Sean leaps onto a bike and pedals furiously down to his lifeboat station in Girvan, Ayrshire.
Sean is studying for his Higher exams in Maths, English, German, Physics, Chemistry and Geography at Girvan Academy and trains with the RNLI crew in his spare time.
He’s already had a handful of shouts in his first few months as a probationer crewman and, on one occasion when he was studying at council buildings in Girvan, he ran round to the lifeboat station when his pager sounded.
‘I really enjoy being involved with the charity and learning new skills. I already work with disabled children at Hand in Hand in Girvan, and I am a young leader at Ballantrae Youth Club.
‘But the RNLI is different, going out to sea to help people in distress and my first shout involved a kayaker in difficulties at Lendalfoot.
‘What I would say to anyone is, give it a go, you learn different skills, it looks good on your CV and could help you land future jobs,’ said Sean.
That first shout was on 20 August when Sean and the rest of the crew launched to a man and a teenager in kayaks close to the rocky shoreline at Lendalfoot.
His interest was sparked when Girvan Academy built a wooden rowing skiff two years ago, a project involving former Girvan lifeboat crewman Ian McClymont.
Ian, a volunteer Deputy Launching Authority with the lifeboat, said, ‘My aim was to encourage the young people to get interested in the water, learn about sea safety and, as Girvan is a seaside town, then I think the children should be involved in water-borne activities.
‘I ran rowing classes for the school last year and Sean has progressed from that to volunteering for the RNLI.’
Girvan Academy head teacher Allan Rattray is delighted that Sean swops his schoolbooks for his lifeboat duties when a call for help comes in.
Allan said, ‘Like the RNLI, Girvan Academy is very much part of the community. We are therefore delighted that one of our pupils has become a crew member on the Girvan lifeboat.
‘To help Sean in his duties as a crew member, he is on-call even while at school. Sean wears his pager and has already been called upon during school hours. Sean’s interest in the sea began when he took up rowing on the skiff built by pupils in the school, with assistance from school staff and local volunteers. Here he met lifeboat crew and he knew then that he wanted to join the lifeboat.
‘It is a great achievement for Sean, considering he is the youngest operational crew member. He takes his duties seriously and is a role model for other pupils in the school.’
Notes to Editor: Our crew members need to:
• be over 17 (with the permission of the parents) or over 18 years old
• be under 45 years old (inshore lifeboat) or 55 (all-weather lifeboat)
• pass a medical and eyesight test
• be physically fit
• live and/or work close to a lifeboat station
• pass a probationary period that usually lasts for one year
• be a team player and be accepted by the rest of the crew
• enjoy hard physical work
• get on well with other people
• communicate easily
• obey orders when required to.
Picture Caption: The pictures show Sean at school and on the lifeboat. Pic credit: RNLI/Richard Smith.
RNLI media contacts: Richard Smith, RNLI Public Relations Manager for Scotland, 01738 642956, 07786 668903, firstname.lastname@example.org
Henry Weaver, RNLI Press Officer for Scotland, 01738 642986, 07771 943026, email@example.com
RNLI Press Office (available 24 hours) 01202 336789 firstname.lastname@example.org