In addition to his day job as external operations manager for Auger, Michael Hearty volunteers with the Royal National Lifeboat Institution
How did you build up your skills?
I’ve built up my skills by attending three exercises a month. These are planned training sessions where we take the D-Class lifeboat out onto the tide for a few hours at a time. We practice for real-life circumstances using the RNLI’s procedures. Some of the older members of the crew have been excellent in passing on some tips and guidance on how to deal with certain situations and that’s really built up my confidence on the boat.
What is the experience like?
Working for the RNLI has been a great experience. There is a great sense of camaraderie among the crew and we all get along. You don’t know when you might have to depend on one of them in a risky situation and that makes the bond closer. When the pager goes off, it’s like an instant shot of adrenaline, your heart feels like it’s beating out of your chest and you don’t know what situation you’re going to be walking into until you get down to the boathouse.
What have been the highlights of volunteering for the RNLI so far?
I’ve been involved in about six ‘shouts’. A shout is basically when the lifeboat gets called out and the pagers go off. Most recently, a sailor had been knocked out of his boat by the boom. Fortunately, his life jacket had auto-inflated, so he was floating. But he had a nasty gash on his forehead that was very deep and about three inches long. We managed to get him into the lifeboat and gave him some urgent medical attention, he was clearly concussed. We’ve since seen him and he’s made a full recovery and is thankful for our help.
Any crossover between the RNLI and your day job?
In my role as external operations manager for Auger, I have to make decisions for engineers on site on a day-to-day basis. I would say that the role with the RNLI has helped me better understand people. I may be called to help people I don’t know and I meet a number of strangers through the community fundraising work that the RNLI also does – a lot of people forget that it is a charity.
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