Shoreham RNLI lifeboat crew member, aged 19, nominated for international award

Isobel Tugwell. Photo: RNLI
Isobel Tugwell. Photo: RNLI

A 19-year-old member of the Shoreham RNLI lifeboat crew has been nominated for a Women in Search and Rescue award, run by the International Maritime Organisation.

Isobel Tugwell is a third-generation crew member at the station – her grandad was a member for 41 years and her dad is second coxswain and second mechanic and has been on the crew for 36 years.

Isobel Tugwell. Photo: RNLI

Isobel Tugwell. Photo: RNLI

She joined the RNLI crew on her 17th birthday, having just started studying for her A-Levels.

Isobel is on the crew for both the D-class inshore and Tamar-class all-weather lifeboats, responding to a variety of calls from broken down boats to people in trouble in the water.

As well as serving on the crew, Isobel recently began work as a Police Community Support Officer (PCSO) with Sussex Police.

The Women in Search and Rescue award is part of an Empowering Women in Maritime campaign.

Isobel Tugwell. Photo: RNLI

Isobel Tugwell. Photo: RNLI

Isobel said: “I’ve wanted to join the crew for as long as I could remember, first being taken on the lifeboat when I was six months old.

“I am thrilled to be nominated, but honestly I am just happy to have the opportunity to save lives at sea and make a difference in my community.”

Last year, one of Isobel’s rescues caught the attention of Saving Lives at Sea – the BBC documentary series focusing on the work of RNLI volunteers.

Her involvement in the programme led to an invitation to Trinity House in London in March for a donor evening.

Along with the RNLI chairman and two other lifeboat crew members from Poole and Tower lifeboat stations, Isobel answered questions about belonging to the organisation and shared stories of rescues and training.

While on stage, her bravery caught the attention of Inmarsat, a sponsor of the International Maritime Organisation’s event, and was nominated for the award on that basis.

The event, which is in its fourth year, recognises the work and achievements of search and rescue professionals internationally and takes place as part of London International Shipping Week 2019, with awards presented by Vice Admiral Sir Laurence KCVO CB ADC(P) on 10 September.

The awards also include a People’s Choice award where members of the public can have their vote.

To vote, visit the Facebook page for the International Maritime Rescue Federation and scroll down to ‘like’ your chosen nominee.

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