Generations of Service: Following in My Father’s Footsteps as a Member of the RNLI Crew

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The Burgon family has a long history of saving lives at sea with the RNLI, spanning over 140 years. From fisherman Peter Burgon to his son William and now to 22-year-old Lewis Burgon, the tradition continues. Lewis’s grandfather William was a coxswain at Queensferry Lifeboat and his father James volunteers with Stromness RNLI. Lewis, a merchant seaman from Stromness, joined his father on the crew last year. The adrenaline rush when the pager goes off is intense, but Lewis finds it exciting to be out on the water, always ready for the unexpected. Training every ten days covers a variety of scenarios, including exercises specific to the Old Man of Hoy in Stromness. One challenging call out involved searching for a missing diver for four days, only to find buoys instead. After each call out, the crew takes time to debrief and calm down. James Burgon, Lewis’s father, joined the Stromness lifeboat crew in 2012 and is proud of the family’s RNLI connections. He values the training and teamwork of the crew, knowing they can be trusted in any situation. The uncertainty of each call out is both thrilling and nerve-wracking, but the support of the community and the crew helps manage the pressure. Post-call out debriefing is crucial for reflection and relaxation.

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