Selsey Coxswain Retires After 47 Years with the RNLI

April 2020

Martin Rudwick

Martin Rudwick retired from the RNLI on Tuesday 21st April, the day before his 65th birthday.

Martin joined the RNLI Selsey Lifeboat crew as a volunteer in June 1973 when he was working as crew on a local fishing boat.

In 1978 he was awarded a vellum certificate when he was crew during the service call to the trawler 'New Venture' and in 1983 he was awarded a medal service certificate as crew on the service call to the 33-foot yacht 'Enchantress of Hamble'.

In the early 80's Martin became a skipper of a local fishing boat and in 1991 decided to buy his own boat, the 'KSL'. Martin fished the grounds off of Selsey even getting assistance from the Lifeboat on three occasions.

In 1996 Martin was appointed as 2nd Coxswain, a position which still allowed him to continue fishing, and then, in February 1998 at the age of 43, Martin was appointed as Coxswain taking over from Mike Grant who was retiring. As this was a full-time appointment 'KSL' was sold and the only fish caught afterwards were bass off of the end of the old Lifeboat station slipway.

During his time as Coxswain Martin has had some notable calls: on the 15th November 2000 he deliberately put the Lifeboat aground in order to rescue the two crew off the yacht 'Penguino'. The 36-foot yacht 'Shropshire Lady', which was 28 miles south of Selsey, was one of his roughest and taxing in his early years as Coxswain resulting in a tow of nearly 10 hours. On 27th May 2007 the call to the yacht 'Pakaa', which was 19 miles south-west of Selsey in rough seas, 9-10 SW winds and torrential rain, resulted in the Lifeboat being out for 12 hours.

Martin's HouseMartin has served on three classes of all-weather Lifeboats and seen vast changes in their design, from the 48'6" Oakley class RNLB 'Charles Henry' to the 47-foot Tyne class RNLB 'City of London' and, latterly, RNLB 'Voluntary Worker', all of which were slipway launched, to the current station boat, the 13-metre Shannon class RNLB, 'Denise and Eric', launched and recovered from the beach.

During Martin's time with the RNLI at Selsey, 1973-2020, the all-weather Lifeboats have launched 845 times on service. 139 lives were saved and a further 738 persons rescued.

In these times of social distancing Martin wasn't permitted the last day celebrations with the crew and so his daughter Helen arranged for her and some of her friends' children and the children of Lifeboat crew to produce pictures which decorated the front of his house, which was a nice surprise for when he arrived home.

We would like to thank Martin for his service and hope he enjoys his retirement. Hopefully we'll be able to celebrate with him later in the year.