The PLIRB Team

There are several teams involved in keeping Pett Level Inshore Rescue Boat afloat, so this page will remain very much a page-in-progress until everyone has been rounded up and photographed! :)

Darren Barry

Darren Barry

Launch Authority Helmsman

Darren’s been involved with the Pett Level Inshore Rescue Boat for over 30 years. Originally, Darren wanted to be a Coastguard but there were no vacancies at the time he thought of joining, so he was advised to volunteer for the PLIRB instead. He’s been with PLIRB ever since and is now also an active member of the local coastguard team. This is great for the PLIRB as it means there are strong links between the local coastguards and the PLIRB as an independent rescue boat – we might be ‘independent’ but rescues are all about teamwork, including our professional colleagues!

Memorable moments: “Launching the inshore rescue boat in response to a call about a child stranded on an inflatable drifting out to sea. We got out there and ended up in pursuit of an inflatable banana which was being followed by an inflatable gorilla!”

Oh and finally, after the inflatable banana, Darren also remembers that being part of the PLIRB team is how he met his wife, Jo Barry!

Jo Barry

Jo Barry

Pett Level Inshore Rescue Boat Secretary and Base Crew, also trained as Boat Crew

Jo’s the Pett Level Inshore Rescue Boat’s longest serving member – over 34 years as a crew member on land and at sea, and as an extremely busy and active Secretary for the PLIRB charity committee. Jo originally became involved with the PLIRB around the age of 12, because her dad was part of the the crew at the time, then later started volunteering with the crew and the running of the base, as well as supporting the administrative side of PLIRB as a charity.

Memorable moments: “Too many to choose from! Being winched by a helicopter as part of exercises with the Hastings Lifeboat. There was also a time when, after a morning at the base, the crew adjourned to The Smugglers Pub (next door but now closed) whilst the remaining crew put the vehicles away. But the PLIRB tractor got stuck coming back up the beach, so everyone had to turn out of the pub to help push the tractor back up the stones – no mean feat after a pint or two!”

And of course Jo’s also quick to recall that the PLIRB is where she and Darren first met!

Steve Hill

Steve Hill

Helm

Steve Hill has been involved with the Pett Level Inshore Rescue Boat for over 20 years … he’s an active crew member and was also the PLIRB charity’s Chairman for several years. Steve first got involved because he used to bring his sons down to the beach all the time and wonder about the “guys in their gear” who were such a presence on the beach. After talking to John Brooker, the then Chairman of PLIRB, he was invited to come along and see what it was all about and has remained with the team ever since.

Memorable moments: Something which really sticks in Steve’s mind was filming for Coastal Waves, which took place in the area a  few years back. The film crew asked for the boat to be launched so they could take some action shots. Back then, there was no tractor assistance for launching the boat, it had to be hand-launched the hard way. Because the filming took place on a Thursday afternoon, there were few pairs of hands around (although more than an average Thursday due to the filming sight-seers)! The crew had to launch and recover the boat 3 or 4 times to enable the film-makers to get enough shots and just as filming wrapped up, PLIRB had a SHOUT and had to launch the boat again. Thankfully the SHOUT turned out to not be an emergency and the boat was recalled, but there were a few sore muscles amongst the PLIRB team that afternoon!

Pete Lewis

Pete Lewis

Base Crew, previously Treasurer

Pete held a long period as a Treasurer for the Pett Level Inshore Rescue Boat and now spends time as a volunteer for the shore team.

He’s been local to the year for many years, with his own boat in Rye and time spent at the very local Rye Bay caravan site. What Pete really loves about the area generally and the PLIRB particularly is that he feels he’s always been made so welcome.

Memorable moments: “A gentleman who was dressed as a captain and who insisted on trying to launch his boat from the slipway, even though he was repeatedly advised by the team that his boat was completely unsuited to a beach launch. The ‘launch’ didn’t go as he had planned, he fell in and the crew ended up rescuing him and the boat.”

Shaun O'Hara

Shaun O'Hara

Helmsman

Shaun’s been with Pett Level Inshore Rescue Boat for over 5 years. He’s always been busy on the waters around here and originally got to know PLIRB volunteers when he was on the waters in his jet ski. Once he had some time available, Shaun was pleased to be able to join the crew as a volunteer.

Memorable moments: Shaun’s memorable moment was his own rescue by the PLIRB! He and a friend were jet ski-ing in the sea off Pett Level and started experiencing problems when their engines cut out. After starting to try to swim in to shore from over a mile out, Shaun was picked up by the PLIRB – and has remained in the boat since!

Andy Cramton

Andy Cramton

Helmsman

More information to follow!

Kev Nuttall

Kev Nuttall

Launch Vehicle

More information to follow!

Ethan Beech

Ethan Beech

Full Crew

Ethan’s been with the Pett Level Inshore Rescue Boat for over 3 1/2 years now and is a fully trained member of the boat crew.

Ethan originally joined in because his friend (and now crew-colleague) Isaac was always coming down to the beach and the boat, so Ethan decided to come along too. He’s happy to support the PLIRB as a volunteer because “it’s a good cause.” Like Isaac, Ethan travels across from Bexhill when there’s a “shout” and always has his pager with him.

Memorable moments: “Isaac just losing things!”

Isaac Dyer

Isaac Dyer

Full Crew

Isaac’s been part of the crew for several years now, first as a trainee and now as a full crew member. He also has an active role in maintaining the tractor, the vital piece of equipment for getting boats launched.

Isaac’s been interested in the PLIRB for a long time, especially as his future plans include joining the Merchant Navy. Getting involved with the PLIRB seemed a good idea, so at the age of 13 he started as a trainee and became full crew within 5 years.

Memorable moments: Being called out to attend an incident of a boat which had caught fire near Rye Harbour, and finding that it belonged to one of his friends!

Russell Gilbert

Russell Gilbert

Trainee Crew

Russell was originally a volunteer with the PLIRB crew around 20 years ago for approximately 5 years. Now he’s got a bit more time available, Russell recently returned to pick up with being a volunteer with PLIRB.

Russell’s always loved the water and loves to water ski – he’s water skied in St. Mary’s Bay most weekends since he was about 14 or 15 (St. Mary’s Bay is just along the coast from Pett Level, towards Dover). Russell particularly enjoys the camaraderie of the PLIRB team, it’s “good fun” and something he really missed when he had to stop volunteering for a while.

Memorable moments: Russell’s been involved in Shouts previously as part of the crew and remembers night-time Shouts as being particularly dramatic.

Mark Hall

Mark Hall

Trainee Crew

More information to follow!

Rob Elrick

Rob Elrick

Trainee Crew

Rob’s been a trainee crew volunteer with the Pett Level Inshore Rescue Boat since October 2017. He’d visited the Open Day and thought that it would be good to get involved as he loves being on the water, particularly kite-surfing.

Rob’s happy to be part of the crew and the PLIRB community and wants “to give something back.

Most memorable moments: “Being out there, out on the boat!”

Jo Stapley

Jo Stapley

Trainee Crew

Jo’s a recently joined volunteer, who’s enjoying getting involved in the crew and activities of the PLIRB.

Although Jo’s recently moved back into the Winchelsea Beach area, she’s very much a local – growing up in the Winchelsea Beach area. Jo’s dad’s part of the fishing club and Jo’s always loved getting involved in sea-based activities and being out at sea.

Memorable moments: Jo still feels quite new to the PLIRB and is getting used to the training, so she’s aiming to make it all memorable – not least by trying to remember everything! She is particularly enjoying the challenge of learning to handle the small boat.

John Crowther

John Crowther

Trainee Crew

More information to follow!

Volunteer Vacancies

Volunteer Vacancies

Ship or shore, we could do with more

Could you be a new member of the team?

Contact us to find out about volunteering with us, or pop along on a Sunday morning.