Dedicated to saving lives at sea

Sharon Gonza. Rye Harbour RNLI volunteer. Photo by Kt Bruce. SUS-180108-165041001
Sharon Gonza. Rye Harbour RNLI volunteer. Photo by Kt Bruce. SUS-180108-165041001

A volunteer lifeboat crew member at Rye Harbour RNLI has recently trained as an RYA (Royal Yachting Association) instructor for Kent and Sussex Powerboat Training.

Sharon Gozna completed the training at a school set up by Henk Ruysch and Chris Wilkinson in 2004 because they felt that there were too many people on the water who did not have the requisite skills. By doing so, they have helped make the waters safer for other boat-owners and helped to save lives at sea.

Understanding the way the boat works and carrying out safety checks. Photo by Kt Bruce. SUS-180108-165639001

Understanding the way the boat works and carrying out safety checks. Photo by Kt Bruce. SUS-180108-165639001

Sharon has been involved with the RNLI since 2007 and the skills she has learnt and studied for have proved helpful while training for her National Powerboat Level 2 qualification. In turn the coaching and teaching skills that Sharon has developed during this process will feed back into her work as an RNLI volunteer crew member.

She set out on Saturday, July 28 from Rye Harbour with three candidates, including a 13-year-old girl, who were taking the RYA Level 2 course, in a six-metre Humber RIB (rigid inflatable boat).

Before they launched Sharon carried out all the safety checks needed and showed them all the boat’s key parts. This was day one of the two-day course.

Sharon said: “The course provides the skills and background knowledge needed to drive a powerboat and is the basis of the International Certificate of Competence (ICC). It covers boat handling, navigation, tides, weather and rope-work so it is really comprehensive.

Heading up the river to start the training. Photo by Kt Bruce. SUS-180108-165650001

Heading up the river to start the training. Photo by Kt Bruce. SUS-180108-165650001

“After the course the candidates will be self-sufficient power-boaters and aware of their own limitations and those of the craft.”

Whether training powerboat drivers or crewing the Rye Harbour lifeboat, Sharon is dedicated to saving lives at sea.

Words and photos by Kt Bruce

Sharon Gonza prepares the RIB (rigid inflatable boat). Photo by Kt Bruce. SUS-180108-165052001

Sharon Gonza prepares the RIB (rigid inflatable boat). Photo by Kt Bruce. SUS-180108-165052001