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The Royal National Lifeboat Institution - Saves Lives at Sea



A Kinghorn RNLI Lifeboat crewmember has just returned from the trip of a lifetime on a tall ship.

Eighteen year old lifeboat crewmember Melanie McGarva boarded the 59m tall ship Stavros S Niarchos at Brixham in Devon before sailing around the south-west tip of England to Dunmore East in Ireland before returning to Swansea on a seven day trip.

The trip was funded by Trinity House who each year sponsor a number of young RNLI crewmembers to take part in a voyage with the Tall Ships Youth Trust. Melanie also received additional funding from who assisted with the travel costs of getting to and from the tall ship.

The voyage began at Brixham and visited St Mary’s in the Scilly Isles and Dunmore East, before docking in Swansea. During the trip the crew were put into watches where they worked a 4-hour watch system which included helming the ship, lookout and climbing the mast to set sails. This took place around the clock with the crew keeping watch whilst underway throughout the night – a new experience for all of them.

RNLI crewmember Melanie McGarva said, “This was a fantastic experience. The week went much too quickly! I had never been on such a big ship however we all quickly settled in to our roles and worked as a team to complete our duties. I was sent up the mast regularly through the week as one of the few who were happy to climb 45m.

“I learnt a huge amount over the week, and although it was very demanding having to get up at 3.30am to go on watch at 4am the experience was definitely worth it and I have learnt many new skills which I will be able to transfer to my normal role as an RNLI lifeboat crewmember at Kinghorn.

“I must say a huge thank you to Trinity House and also to the team at who made the trip possible.”

Melanie performed so well on the trip that she was recommended to return as permanent crew on the ship where she can lead and support others who take part in similar voyages.

Trinity House is the body responsible for all navigation lights and marks around the coast of England, Wales, the Channel Islands and Gibraltar. They are also a charitable organisation dedicated to the safety, training and welfare of mariners. is a website which is aimed at sailors in the UK with much useful information about sailing with news, updates and club information.