A volunteer helmsman for the RNLI lifeguard service commemorated 30 years as a crew member recently.

Kevin Thomas, of Little Haven, a volunteer helmsman on the beaches of Little and Broad Haven, has helped marshal the seas off the coast of Pembrokeshire for three decades.

Kevin has clocked up a remarkable:

  • 10,950 days of being a volunteer
  • 15,768,000 minutes being on call 24-hours-a-day
  • 30 years a crew member

Kevin joined the crew at the age of 17 and is still a part of the team at 47.

He says he’s seen everything in his 30 years of service from dogs fallen off cliffs to a shoal of kayaks needing to be rescued.

On his service with the RNLI, Kevin said: “I wanted to be a member of the lifeboat from the moment I first heard the maroon going off - that’s how we used to get called for a shout, pre pagers.

“I just think if you live by the sea and can offer help then why wouldn’t you? If there’s a shout, that means someone is in danger.

“I get a buzz from being able to help, be it a person or animal, and if it’s a life saved then that’s an enormous feeling that you’ve done good."

Kevin’s brother was also a volunteer and he hopes his daughter will follow in his footsteps when she’s old enough.

Kevin went on to say: “No shout is the same. Finding missing children is a big joy, missing divers, people cut off by the tide, windsurfers, swimmers. You name it, I’ve probably been out and searched for it."

For his achievement Kevin received a letter from the RNLI and a medal.

Kevin added: “There was one time where there were seven kayaks all being blown out to sea. To save time we managed to get them all tied and secured and towed them all back together.

“Every call out is different and the training is there to help you make on-the-spot decisions.”

Kevin paid a big thank you to his team for support – all of which are also volunteers.

The RNLI is a voluntary organisation run primarily on donations from the public with crew members having regular jobs as well.